Pro-regime forces to enter Syria's Afrin 'within hours': state media


On Sunday it was reported that Kurdish fighters had struck a deal with the Syrian regime, allowing them to enter the besieged region to help them repel Turkey's ongoing military offensive.

The move could be a first step toward restoring Syrian Government presence along the border with Turkey, which has been an active supporter of President Bashar Assad's opponents and sponsored rebels fighting to oust him throughout the seven-year Syrian civil war.

Syria's state-run Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) announced Monday "that popular forces [the Syrian military] are to arrive in the Afrin area soon to support locals in facing the aggression launched by the Turkish regime on the area since January 20th".

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday said his forces would soon besiege the Syrian town of Afrin as a cross-border offensive targeting a Kurdish militia enters its second month.

"If Russia is indeed supporting this deployment, that means it would act in defence of its ally in case of an attack by Turkish forces on Syrian forces in Afrin".

He said Turkey took the utmost care to protect civilians in the military operation, while the YPG was using civilians as "human shields" in areas under its control.

However, this information has been refuted by a YPG representative in Afrin Brusk Haseke, who had called them false and fake news in his interview to Sputnik, saying that the Syrian government forces would not enter Afrin.

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"If the regime [in Damascus] is entering there to cleanse the PKK and PYD, then there are no problems", he said, referring to the Kurdistan Democratic Union Party (PYD), which is considered as the YPG's political wing.

The Syrian government and Kurdish fighters have clashed on occasion, and Assad technically opposes the Kurds' demands for autonomy.

U.S. support for the YPG has infuriated Turkey as it considers the group a "terrorist" organisation.

Turkey's assault on Afrin, launched last month, aims to clear the region of YPG fighters that now control the territory.

However, sources speaking to the privately-owned CNN Turk TV said Erdogan threatened the Syrian regime if its army enters Afrin. The YPG is part of the usa -backed Syrian Democratic Forces that has played a critical role in defeating Islamic State in several parts of Syria.

Opposition activists say government forces have brought in reinforcements in preparation for a wide offensive on the last main rebel stronghold near the capital.

The Observatory said Monday's shelling by Turkish troops killed three people, including a child, and that others were wounded.