The Kurds in Syria have struck a deal with the Syrian government to halt Turkey’s offensive against them in the northern borders.
Kurdish-led administration in northern Syria said the Syrian army would deploy along the entire length of the border as part of the agreement. This deployment would assist the SDF in countering “this aggression and liberating the areas that the Turkish army and mercenaries had entered”.
The move also “paves the way to liberate the rest of the Syrian cities occupied by the Turkish army such as Afrin”.
The deal follows after the U.S. decided to pull all its remaining troops from the area paving the way for the Turkish operation against the Kurdish fighters. This the SDF called the move “a stab in the back”.
The Turkish assault, launched last week, is aimed at forcing Kurdish forces from along the border area. This has also led to a significant shift in alliances for the Kurds, after losing the U.S. military protection.
Areas under the control of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), the main US ally in the area, have come under heavy bombardment over the weekend, with Turkey making gains in two key border towns.
Dozens of civilians and fighters have been killed on both sides.
The fighting resulted in escape of nearly 800 relatives of foreign IS members from Ain Issa, a camp in the north, as clashes raged nearby.
The Turkish offensive and US withdrawal has drawn an international outcry, as the SDF were the main Western allies in the battle against IS in Syria.
But Turkey views elements of the Kurdish groups within the force as terrorists and says it wants to drive them away from a “safe zone” reaching 30 km into Syria.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan hopes to resettle up to two million Syrian refugees currently in Turkey within the zone. While critics warned that it could lead to ethnic cleansing of the local Kurdish population.