Turkey denies reports Syria will help YPG in Afrin

Turkey denies reports Syria will help YPG in Afrin
From Al Jazeera - February 19, 2018

Turkey's deputy prime minister has dismissed as "false" media reports that Syrian government forces were poised to enter a Kurdish enclave in Syria's Afrin.

Bekir Bozdag, however, warned any move by Syrian soldiers to help the Kurdish People's Protection Units, or YPG, repel a Turkish offensive in northwestern Syria would be a "major disaster" for the region.

Turkey will continue its air and ground offensive against the YPG "with determination until the last terrorist is rendered ineffective", Bozdag told reporters after a weekly cabinet meeting on Monday.

He was responding to a report by the Syrian state-run SANA news agency earlier in the day that said pro-government forces would enter Afrin "within a few hours to support its people's stand against Turkish regime's attack".

The report by SANA raised fears of a potential clash between Turkish troops and Syrian forces, which are backed by Russia and Iran.

SANA said the planned deployment followed an agreement between the Syrian government and the YPG.

But a spokesman for the YPG denied agreeing on a deal with Damascus.

"There is no agreement. There is only a call from us for the Syrian army to come in and protect the borders," Nouri Mahmoud told Reuters news agency late on Monday.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's troops pulled out of most of northern Syria in 2012 as nationwide protests against his rule spiraled into a civil war.

The YPG, part of the US-backed umbrella organisation Syrian Democratic Forces, gained control of large swathes of territory in northern Syria during the course of an offensive against Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).


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