ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) - The Kurdish-led Self-Administration of North and East Syria in an official statement on Sunday confirmed it had reached a deal with Damascus and Moscow for the Syrian army to protect the nation's northern border with Turkey after the US announced it was withdrawing all remaining troops from Syria.
The administration said that the decision came after five days of Turkish operations resulted in the “most heinous crimes against unarmed civilians have been committed.”
On Sunday, a Turkish airstrike killed 11 and injured over 70 when it hit a civilian convoy.
According to the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), at least 54 civilians have been killed since Turkey launched its unilateral attack on Wednesday.
The local administration has consistently claimed that, in the past few years, it has not staged attacks on any foreign country, especially Turkey.
“The SDF [Syrian Democratic Forces] has responded with dignity and courage resulting in the death and injury of its fighters, in order to save the Syrian integrity, however Turkey is continuing its assault.”
“As a result, we had to deal with the Syrian government that has the duty of protecting the country’s borders and preserve Syrian sovereignty, so that the Syrian army can enter and deploy along the Syrian-Turkish border to support the SDF to repel this aggression and liberate the areas entered by the Turkish army and its hired mercenaries.”
The administration also hoped it will lead the Syrian army and the SDF in removing the Turkish army and Turkish-backed armed groups from areas such as Afrin, which Turkish security forces took control of in March 2018 during a previous cross-border incursion.
“This agreement offers an opportunity to liberate the rest of the Syrian territories and cities occupied by the Turkish army as Afrin and other Syrian cities and towns.”
A senior leader of the Bab Military Council confirmed that it has agreed “with the regime, to deploy border guards to protect civilians on the border.”
A displaced civilian who fled his hometown of Kobani told Kurdistan 24 on condition of anonymity that the would rather have the Syrian government return than Turkey. “Both of them are dirty,” he said, “but Erdogan and his ISIS are dirtier.”
Another official also noted that an agreement with the regime is not optimal, “but better for Rojava [Syrian Kurdistan] than Turkey.”
The self-administration's statement also mentioned that the SDF fought against the Islamic State from 2014 until March 2019, sacrificing large numbers of its own and later declaring victory over the group after five harsh years of deadly battles.
It went on to alert residents of the northeastern regions of Syria that the deployment of the Syrian armed forces will be deployed to multiple border areas.
“We know that we would have to make painful compromises with Moscow and Bashar al-Assad if we go down the road of working with them,” SDF Commander-in-Chief Mazlum Abdi, wrote in an op-ed piece for Foreign Policy today.
“But if we have to choose between compromises and the genocide of our people, we will surely choose life for our people.”
Editing by John J. Catherine