Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) commander Siban Hamou said on Monday that his forces had no problem with the Syrian army entering Afrin to take part in repelling the Turkish-led attack on the city.
“We do not have a problem with Syrian army forces entering in order to defend Afrin and Afrin’s borders from the Turkish occupation,” Hamou said during a press conference over Skype.
The commander did not say if this meant the deployment of President Bashar al-Assad’s forces inside Afrin or only repelling the “Olive Branch” operation which Turkey is leading.
He said that the YPG considered the territories under its control to be part of Syria. “The regime has always declared that Afrin is part of Syria. We [the YPG] have also always said it is part of Syria. So you need to carry out your duty.”
“So far we have not seen any practical steps from the state toward the Turkish aggression against Afrin,” Hamou told reporters. He spoke only about “limited coordination” with the regime forces to facilitate the entry of humanitarian aid into Afrin.
The Kurdish Self-Administration in Afrin, which is in the northwestern countryside of Aleppo, called on the Assad regime after the start of the Turkish assault to intervene to defend the area by deploying forces on the border with Turkey, while the regime condemned what it call the Turkish “aggression” against Syria.
Kurdish leaders said previously that “Moscow offered protection from Turkey if they handed administration of their areas over to the regime of President Assad, which was totally rejected, and they proposed deploying border guards while maintaining their local authority. When they refused, Russian forces, whose members had been in the area, withdrew their air cover.”
The escalating role for the Kurds in the fighting in recent years has been a concern for both Ankara, which fears the establishment of a Kurdish state on its southern borders, and the Assad regime, which has long stated its intention to regain control over the entire country.
This article was translated and edited by The Syrian Observer. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.