Syrian government troops will enter the city of Afrin in northwestern Syria after reaching an agreement with the Syrian Kurdish group People’s Protection Units (YPG) to fight Turkish troops in the border town alongside them.
“Syrian soldiers haven’t yet arrived. We are calling on the Syrian army to protect Afrin, because we’d love to preserve a unified Syria,” said Nuri Mahmoud, a spokesperson for the YPG, in media statements. “We are saying this because the international community continues to address the Syrian leadership as sovereign, and we call on this authority to protect its territory,” he added.
In January, the Turkish military launched an operation in northern Syria against the Syrian Kurdish group YPG in the enclave of Afrin.
Turkey accuses the YPG of being linked to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which is banned in Turkey and has waged a decades-long fight against the government there. Ankara considers Syria’s Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) and its armed wing, the YPG, terrorist groups.
Furthermore, Turkish Minister of Foreign Affairs Mevlut Cavusoglu warned at a press conference on Monday that the Turkish military will confront any Syrian troops in Afrin if they protect the PYD. He added, “there is no problem if the Syrian regime entered Afrin to clear the town of PYD and PKK forces, but if they come to protect them, nobody will stop Turkish soldiers.”
Following the launching of the operation, Egypt expressed rejection of the Turkish military operation against the city of Afrin. In a statement from its Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Egypt considered the Turkish manoeuvres violations against Syrian sovereignty over its territories.
The Turkish operation hinders current efforts for reaching a political solution to the Syrian crisis and efforts for combating terrorism in the country, read the statement.
Egypt reaffirmed its consistent stance regarding the Syrian crisis, which rejects military actions because of their negative impacts on the Syrian people, according to the statement. Egypt further demanded that all Syrian parties engage in serious negotiations in order to maintain Syrian integrity.