Feb 20 2018

Pro-Assad fighters enter Syria’s Afrin - reports

Fighters supporting Syrian President Bashar Assad have begun entering the enclave of Afrin, where Turkey’s army is battling Kurdish militants, Reuters reported citing Hezbollah sources.

The militia are entering the area from Aleppo vis the al-Ziyara crossing point north of Nebul, said the media unit of Hezbollah, a Syrian government ally, according to Reuters

Reports surfaced on Monday of a deal between Assad and the Kurds for Syrian troops to enter the region and start policing the border with Turkey. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan warned Syria against such a move, saying he had negotiated to ensure the troop movement would not happen.

Iranian-backed militia with heavy weapons and four-wheel drive vehicles have entered the area, according to a separate report by journalist Samet Doğan on Twitter. The soldiers were shouting anti-Erdoğan slogans, he said.

 

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said on Monday that nothing would stop Turkish troops should Syria start protecting Kurdish militants, who Turkey says are affiliated with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), a group that has fought a three-decade war of autonomy against Turkey.

The militia entering Afrin are the pro-Assad Popular (Mobilisation) Forces, military analyst Qalaat al Mudiq said on Twitter