RusVesna reports that the hitherto US-backed mixed Kurdish-Arab units under the brand of “Syrian Democratic Forces” have decided to put on Syrian Arab Army uniforms and fight terrorist forces in cooperation with Moscow and Damascus.
Sources on the ground have reportedly said that in the cities of Nubbol and Zahra in the Aleppo province, Kurdish militias have fully joined forces with Syrian troops.
Local units of the ‘Syrian Democratic Forces’ have resolved to don Syrian Arab Army uniforms in order to not be singled out by Turkish forces in the impending battle for Idlib and the western part of the Aleppo province.
The largest Turkish news agency, Anadolu, has reportedly confirmed this, with an Anadolu correspondent in Aleppo saying: “As part of an agreement with the Bashar Assad regime, the YPG organization has deployed 1300 fighters over the past two weeks to the regime-controlled Aleppo province. On the morning of August 11th, a convoy with YPG fighters went via Manbij to Aleppo.’
As FRN has reported, YPG commander-in-chief Sipan Hemo recently declared that Kurdish forces would join Syrian forces in anti-terrorist operations in the north.
These developments follow months of Russian military negotiations with Kurdish elders and field commanders to persuade them to cooperate with Damascus, RusVesna reports, calling this “Moscow’s genius move.”
The pledge of SDF and YPG forces to aid the Syrian Arab Army comes not only as rumors and reports have suggested that a Syrian northern offensive is imminent, but also in tandem with significant statements from both Turkey, which has troops in the area, and Russia, which militarily backs Damascus.
Following Turkish President Erdogan’s announcement on Sunday that Ankara is preparing a new military operation in Syria, Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov visited Ankara yesterday, where he stressed that Syria has the right to defend itself from attacks in Idlib, and stated:
“As for Syria, today we are discussing via different channels the objectives of tackling resistance by the remaining terrorist groups and returning the armed opposition that rejects terrorist methods to peaceful life. [We are also] discussing the complete implementation of agreements on the de-escalation zones, including Idlib.”
At the same time, Lavrov suggested that the US is trying to undermine the Astana peace process through sanctions.
At the press conference with Lavrov, Turkey’s foreign minister Cavusoglu conveyed:
“The Idlib zone is home to more than three million civilians, but there are also terrorists from Eastern Ghouta, Aleppo and other zones there. They threaten the civilian population. We should have a common strategy with Russia and other powers, identify and eliminate terrorists. Despite their presence, we cannot bomb the city, as it will result in mass casualties [among civilians]. We should separate radicals and civilians. We must conduct the fight against terrorists together.”
Both Lavrov and Cavusoglu’s statements seem to suggest that an offensive operation in Northern Syria is imminent. It is likely that the fate of Turkish forces and other armed groups occupying Syrian territory will be decided in multilateral negotiations in the coming days.