ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – A Kurdistan 24 correspondent in northern Syria on Wednesday interviewed a commander with the Syrian Army at the Qaraqozakh bridge before they entered the city of Kobani.
First Lieutenant Hosam told Kurdistan 24 correspondent Redwan Bezar that their main goal is “to defend our lands from Turkey’s occupation. We are here to protect civilians, especially women and children, from the Turkish criminals that do not know anything of humanity.”
The commander also had a message to the civilian population in Kobani: “Our message to the people is that they must not be afraid in the areas that the Syrian government forces are deployed. The Syrian army is here to protect you.”
However, the commander could not comment on additional plans regarding the deployment. “I cannot comment on that for now. That is under the supervision of our commanders. I just want to tell the people not to be worried,” he continued, while soldiers behind him chanted for the Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad.
The Syrian government armed forces were accompanied by a Russian convoy to the outskirts of Kobani. They first met with the Kobani administration before entering.
The Syrian Kurdish leadership reached a deal on Sunday with Damascus for the Syrian Army to step in following an announcement by US President Donald Trump that he was withdrawing American troops from Syria. The goal was to prevent Turkey from taking more territory and prevent another situation similar to Afrin, a prominent Kurdish-majority region occupied by Turkey and its allied militias.
Shahin Janib Ali, a member of the legislative council of Kobani, earlier told Kurdistan 24 that the “people of Kobani prefer the Syrian Army over these armed groups because the Syrian Army is Syrian and we [the Kurds] never called for separation. We would rather be with the unity of Syrian soil. Undoubtedly, Kobani will prefer [the] Syrian Army. We will never accept the people of Kobani to live under Turkish occupation and its mercenaries.”
The Kobani Military Council leader, Ismat Sheikh Hassan, also told Kurdistan 24 on Wednesday that the Syrian Army had entered Kobani and created outposts close to the border. He confirmed they had also entered nearby Ain al Issa.
He affirmed local forces and Syrian government forces were now working together.
“The situation in Kobani is good. There are clashes in the eastern part.Tal Abyad is under their [Turkish] control. Serekaniye, we have captured it. The clashes are everywhere, they are using artillery, aircraft, and tanks. But in Kobani itself, there is no war, only shelling at times.”
Editing by Nadia Riva
(Additional reporting by Redwan Bezar).