AFRIN, Syrian Kurdistan (Kurdistan 24) – Kurdish authorities in Syria’s northwest canton of Afrin on Thursday called for Bashar al-Assad’s government to send in the Syrian army to help defend them from Turkish attacks.
In an online statement, the self-administration of Afrin canton urged the Syrian regime to defend the Syrian borders against the Turkish aggression.
“We call on the Syrian state to carry out its sovereign obligations towards Afrin and protect its borders with Turkey from attacks of the Turkish occupier ... and deploy its Syrian armed forces to secure the borders of the Afrin area,” the statement said.
Since the outbreak of the Syrian civil war in 2011, this is the first time the Kurdish-run administration officially called for some form of cooperation, though the relationship between the government and the self-ruling body has been tense over the past years.
The Turkish air and ground offensive to drive the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) fighters out of the Afrin district has opened a new front in a civil war which has seen alliances shift between factions on the ground and their foreign sponsors.
The Kurdish-controlled region in northern Syria, known in Kurdish as Rojava, benefits of a US presence in the northeast areas of the country, while in Afrin, which lies in the northwest, has a few Russian training centers.
US support for the YPG has infuriated Washington’s NATO ally of Turkey, which views the YPG as a “terrorist” group and has vowed to crush it.
The Syrian Kurdish administration and its military force, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) led by the YPG and the all-women brigade, the Women Protection Units (YPJ), sought some kind of autonomy from the Syrian regime and have since held two elections.
The third round of elections was supposed to be in January 2018 but postponed as a result of the Turkish military assault on Afrin launched last Saturday.
Editing by Nadia Riva