Kurds Confirm Deal for Syrian Army to Join Afrin Battle Against Turkey

Major New Faction Joins Bloody Border Fight

Kurdish YPG official Badran Jia Kurd has confirmed on Sunday that a deal was reached between Kurdish officials and the Syrian Army that would see army reinforcements deployed into the Afrin District to help fight against the invading Turkish military.

Afrin District is held by the YPG, and the first invasion target for the Turkish military, which has been attacking the Kurds for weeks. Though Syria’s government has criticized Turkey for the invasion, this is the first direct involvement, with troops expected to arrive within the next two days.

It’s no big surprise Syria is interested in getting involved. Past territory seized by Turkey has been handed over to rebel factions, and the YPG holds about 25% of Syria. Letting Turkey rampage through that territory would risk giving the rebels a large new stronghold.

With the US in the process of negotiating a deal with Turkey, potentially at the expense of the Kurds, this may mark a major shift in the Syrian War in the north, with the Kurds realigning with the government and the US once again switching sides to a new round of rebel factions.

That’s assuming the US continues to talk with Turkey at all. There were no US troops in Afrin in the first place, so the US-Turkey issue only matters when troops approach Manbij. If Syria checks the Turkish invasion at Afrin, they may never get any farther into the country.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.