Kurds reach deal with Assad over soldiers to Afrin

Kurdish militants battling Turkey’s army in northern Syria say they have secured the agreement of Russia and Syria to allow reinforcements to be sent to the Kurdish enclave of Afrin.

The Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) has reached an understanding with the regime of Bashar al Assad, Kino Gabriel, a spokesman for the YPG, according to Al Jazeera.

"There are different ways to get reinforcements to Afrin, but the fundamental route is via regime forces,” he said. “There are understandings between the two forces ... for the sake of delivering reinforcements to Afrin."

Turkey launched an operation into Afrin three weeks ago to battle the YPG, which is helping the United States fight Islamic State (ISIS) in eastern Syria. The assault and U.S. support for the YPG has sent relations between Ankara and Washington into crisis. Turkey says the YPG are terrorists due to their affiliation with the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).

While the YPG depends on Assad to reach Afrin, Damascus needs YPG cooperation to source grain and oil from areas of the northeast under Kurdish control, the source said, Al Jazeera reported.

A commander in the military alliance fighting in support of Assad said, on condition of anonymity, that "the Syrian regime is helping the Kurds with humanitarian support and some logistics, like turning a blind eye and allowing Kurdish support to reach some fronts."