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Iranian-Russian Offer to Turkey: Targeting Kurdish Leaders in Exchange for Halting Military Operation

Turkish forces escalated their air attacks in areas under the control of the SDF, according to al-Modon.
Iranian-Russian Offer to Turkey: Targeting Kurdish Leaders in Exchange for Halting Military Operation

Syrian opposition sources revealed to al-Modon that the pledges made by Turkey’s partners in the Astana track are to discourage Ankara from launching a new military operation against the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in northern Syria, including providing it with information that facilitates targeting leaders of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) –based in the north and northeastern Syria. Its Western NATO partners have already pledged this. 

Turkish attacks 

It was remarkable that Turkish forces escalated their air attacks in areas under the control of the SDF over the past few days. The latest attack on Saturday resulted in the killing of three female leaders of the terrorist PKK due to a drone strike near Qamishli. 

SDF acknowledged the killing of counter-terrorism unit commander Salwa Yousef, known by the nom de guerre Jian Tolhaldan, military commander Joanna Hasso, known by the nom de guerre Rouj Khabour, and fighter in the anti-terrorist units Ruha Bashar, known by the nom de guerre Abrin Buttan. 

Meanwhile, local media sources and eyewitnesses said that SDF forces had begun a repositioning and deployment operation in various locations, particularly in the east of the Euphrates. These operations include the evacuation of some sites and checkpoints, as well as the establishment of fortifications. 

The Euphrates Post reported that within the past 48 hours, SDF had evacuated its headquarters in two towns in the eastern countryside of Deir-ez-Zor, and removed military checkpoints. 

Read Also: SDF Deputy Commander and Three Others Killed in Hassakeh Air Strike

Jusoor Center for Studies researcher Abdel Wahab Assi does not rule out such understandings but believes that Russia and Iran prefer to be in partnership with Syrian regime forces. 

“The regime and Tehran have shown their openness to reactivate the Adana Agreement signed between Damascus and Ankara through earlier statements by their foreign ministers. This agreement allows the Turkish army to invade Syrian territory to pursue PKK cadres in cooperation with the regime’s army. Therefore, it cannot be expected that Russia and Iran can offer Turkey more or make it able to make a big difference that enhances its influence on Syrian territory,” he told al-Modon.   

SDF’s Response

After the announcement that the three Kurdish leaders had been killed due to the Turkish raid, SDF responded by targeting a camp for displaced persons on the outskirts of Afrin city in northern Aleppo countryside on Sunday. The attack caused casualties among the residents. 

Assi said that SDF benefits from the margin of maneuver provided by the diversity of its allies and its confidence that they all need it (SDF)– or at least for the time being. Therefore “even with these understandings and commitments, SDF proceeds to move beyond them while being somewhat reassured.” 

Assi refers to previous agreements signed by the Turks with the Americans and Russians, which provide for the removal of Kurdish radical organizations in Syria from their southern borders for 30 kilometres. However, the agreements have nevertheless remained unimplemented because of the lack of will from Moscow and Washington to implement them for various reasons. 

Understandings and agreements between the countries involved in the Syrian issue have long faced many obstacles that have led to the failure to implement or not fully implement them. This is a result of the differences of interest between these countries and the differences governing their intervention in Syria, making even the understandings reached at the July 19 Tehran summit vulnerable to the same fate.


This article was translated and edited by The Syrian Observer. The Syrian Observer has not verified the content of this story. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.

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