Middle EastSyriaTurkey

Syrian Army Takes Control of Several Kurdish-Held Towns to Face Turkish Aggression

Syrian government troops have reportedly entered at least four Kurdish-held towns after the Damascus government sent its troops to confront the Turkish Army and Ankara-backed militants that are carrying out a military operation against Kurdish militias in Northern Syria.

Official news agency SANA reported on Sunday evening that the Syrian Army units have begun moving to the territory “to confront Turkish Army aggression”, amid a continuing Turkish offensive against Kurdish militias.

State media did not announce where and when the Syrian Army troops were deploying in Northern Syria.

It came after Reuters news agency reported that the Syrian government and the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) have been holding negotiations with Moscow’s participation at Russia’s Hmeimim airbase in the Western coastal province of Lattakia.

Ahmed Suleiman, a senior member of the Kurdish Democratic Progressive Party in Syria, stated that the talks were being held in Lattakia, and expressed the hope for a deal that would halt the Turkish assault.

Yet, a source close to the Syrian government noted that they were taking place in the capital, stating that meetings between the SDF and Damascus had taken place before and after the latest Turkish offensive.

Later, the SDF announced in a statement that an agreement has been reached with Damascus for the Syrian government troops to be deployed along the border with Turkey.

The Syrian Army deployment would support the Kurdish fighters in countering the Ankara aggression and “liberating the areas that the Turkish Army and mercenaries had entered”, it said, adding it would also allow for the liberation of other Syrian cities occupied by the Turkish Army such as Afrin.

Late on Sunday, al-Mayadeen reported that the Syrian Army has entered the city of Manbij in the Northern province of Aleppo, as the Kurds let the government troops pass through their checkpoints unhampered.

Earlier, the Lebanese broadcaster reported that the Syrian Army would deploy within 48 hours to the town of Ein Al-Arab (Kobani) which is controlled by Kurdish fighters, as the strategic region is currently being targeted in the offensive by Turkey and Ankara-backed militant groups.

The distance between Manbij and Kobani is around 60 kilometers.

Meantime, general Ismet Sheikh Hasan, an official in Kurdish-controlled Kobani, told the Russian news agency RT that Kurds have reached an agreement with Moscow to allow Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s troops into the strategic town.

After the agreement reached between the two parties, Russia’s Sputnik news agency reported the arrival of the first unit of the Syrian Army in the town of Tel Temar in Hasaka province, which was under the control of Kurdish fighters. Later, SANA confirmed that troops of the Syrian Army have entered the town on Monday.

Tel Temer is a relatively small town, but it’s located on an intersection of several major roads and is of strategic importance.

On Monday morning, al-Mayadeen also reported that the Syrian Army has entered the city of al-Tabqah, previously controlled by the Kurdish militias, in the province of Raqqa and is moving Northward.

The government troops have also entered Al-Thawrah, a city in the Raqqa province located on the Euphrates River, which is famous for its proximity to a major dam.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported earlier that military aircraft affiliated to the International Coalition targeted a column of Syrian forces in Al-Rasafa area Southwest of Raqqa city.

Earlier this week, the Turkish military entered Northern Syria without consent from Damascus in order to fight the Kurdish militia, which Ankara regards as terrorists. Before the start of the military operation, the US called back several dozen servicemen who were embedded with the Kurdish fighters.

On Saturday, President Donald Trump authorized a withdrawal of the remaining 1,000 American troops from Northern Syria so they don’t get caught up between the warring sides. Two American officials told Reuters on Sunday the United States is considering plans to withdraw the bulk of American troops from Northern Syria in the coming days.

The Kurds, who were Washington’s main allies in fighting the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, ISIS or Daesh) before, called the US move a betrayal.

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