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Kurdish leader claims ‘Trump blessed our agreement with Russia and Syrian regime’

Members of Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) continue operations against the PKK, YPG within Turkey's Operation Peace Spring in Ras Al Ayn, Syria on 17 October 2019. [TURKISH ARMED FORCES / HANDOUT - Anadolu Agency]
Members of Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) continue operations against the PKK, YPG within Turkey's Operation Peace Spring in Ras Al Ayn, Syria on 17 October 2019. [TURKISH ARMED FORCES / HANDOUT - Anadolu Agency]

The commander of Kurdish forces in Syria has declared that US President Donald Trump has not opposed an agreement reached by the Kurds, Russia and the Syrian regime to counter the Turkish attack in north-eastern Syria. Mazloum Abdi told Kurdish Ronahi TV on Wednesday evening that Trump gave the green light to the agreement.

Abdi and Trump talked on the phone on Monday, a day after the Kurdish forces’ announcement of the deal. The agreement thus followed Trump’s decision to withdraw US troops from Syria, paving the way for the Turkish offensive to take place last week. Under the agreement, Syrian regime forces will replace the US forces on the ground in border areas, with Moscow guaranteeing the accord.

“Trump told us that we are communicating with the Syrian regime and Russians to protect our country and our land,” explained Abdi. “The president told us, ‘We are not against it; we rather support that’.”

The Syrian regime has deployed its troops in the border town of Ayn Al-Arab (Kobane), along a major highway to the west. However, clashes are ongoing for control of the strategic town of Ras Al-Ain, as Turkish-backed fighters have advanced towards the town where the Kurdish forces are deploying extensive military resources in its defence.

READ: UN chief welcomes pause to Syria operation 

An official of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), led by the Kurds, said that the town had witnessed “heavy air and ground bombardment,” while the Turkish-backed fighters launched a three-pronged attack.

The Kurds have allied with the US since 2014 to fight Daesh. Abdi asserted that the priority now is to stop the Turkish invasion.

Two days ago, Newsweek reported that the US forces are helping their Russian counterparts to control the city of Manbij in competition with the Syrian factions backed by Turkey. A senior Pentagon official told the magazine that, “What is happening is simply a handover. It is a quick process, which will not involve a careful review of locations. It is all about leaving with as much of our equipment as possible and destroying any sensitive equipment that cannot be moved.”

Russian Presidential Aide Yuri Ushakov asserted on Monday that the “most important thing” about Manbij is that “the Turks contain the situation and that their actions do not pose problems for the political settlement in Syria.” Ushakov is apparently sending a message that the Turks may not seek to take control of the city, after it fell into the hands of the Russian forces and the Syrian regime.

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