Kurds say they’ll abide by Syria truce
The Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) have announced that they will observe a Russia-US ceasefire plan in Syria, but will retaliate if attacked.
“We, in the People’s Protection Units, give great importance (to the plan), and we will abide by it completely, while reserving the right to respond to any aggressor in the framework of legitimate self-defense,” YPG official Redur Xelil was quoted by Reuters as saying on Wednesday.
On Monday, the US and Russia announced agreement on a “cessation of hostilities” in Syria which is set to kick off on February 27. The Syrian government has accepted the terms on condition that military efforts against the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group and al-Nusra front group continue.
Meanwhile, the Saudi-backed Syrian opposition High Negotiations Committee (HNC) also announced that it would temporarily adhere to the truce. “A provisional truce for two weeks would provide a chance to determine the commitment of the other side”, read a statement issued by the HNC.
The announcement followed a Russian Defense Ministry statement that said agreements were reached on some local ceasefires in areas including the north of Latakia province.
Earlier, Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that Syrian Kurdish forces should be excluded from the peace plan. The YPG is nearly in control of Syria’s entire northern border with Turkey.
Turkey regards the YPG and its political wing Democratic Union Party (PYD) as allies of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has been fighting for an autonomous Kurdish region inside Turkey since the 1980s.
Turkey also blames Kurdish forces for a recent deadly blast in Ankara which claimed the lives of 29 people, and has been shelling YPG positions in northern Syria.
Earlier on Wednesday, Turkish army helicopters attacked Kurdish positions in the Idil district of Turkey’s Sirnak province close to the Syria border, and killed 12 PKK members. Turkish jets also bombed PKK camps in Qandil mountains in northern Iraq near the Iraq–Iran border.