Syrian pro-govt forces to enter Afrin 'in coming hours'

Ankara says it will react if pro-Assad forces defend Kurds

19 February, 14:16

    (ANSAmed) - BEIRUT, FEBRUARY 19 - Syrian pro-government forces are set to enter the Kurdish enclave of Afrin "in the coming hours", according to Syrian state television.

    The broadcaster confirmed that an agreement was reached between the Syrian government and the main Kurdish-Syrian militias for control of the Kurdish enclave that has been the target of a Turkish military offensive since January 20. The agreement could push Turkey to pull its forces out of the area and end its air and ground offensive.

    Syrian government media confirmed that auxiliary pro-regime militias are headed to Afrin to support "locals' resistance" against "Turkish aggression".

    This was the government media's first official statement regarding government forces' involvement alongside the local wing of the Kurdish PKK against the Turkish offensive.

    On Monday morning, Kurdish-Syrian military sources cited by the BBC said they had reached an agreement with Damascus on government intervention in the Kurdish enclave.

    Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusgolu provided Turkey's first statement following the news of the imminent entry of pro-Assad forces into Afrin. "No one can stop Turkish forces if the Syrian regime enters Afrin to protect the YPG," Cavusgolu said, referring to what Turkey considers the Syrian offshoot of the PKK.

    "If the regime enters Afrin to eliminate the YPG, there's no problem," he said.(ANSAmed).

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