Syrian President Bashar al-Assad once again reiterated his support for Kurdish fighters, Vladimir Putin and Recep Tayyip Erdogan were in talks in an effort to reach a viable solution for the crisis.
“We are ready to support the resistance to Turkish aggression,” said Assad, who made a visit to Idlib province, the other front line, hundreds of kilometres from the Turkish-Syrian border.
“Support for the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), a key component of which is Kurdish fighters, is a constitutional and national duty,” he added.
The ceasefire in northeast Syria, which was negotiated by Turkey and the US, ends tonight (Greek time). Turkey plans to create a “security strip” in the area and repatriate part of the 3.6 million Syrian refugees it currently hosts on its territory.
Damascus had in the past criticised the Kurdish alliance with the US, even calling it a “treacherous”. But US President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw US troops from northern Syria, leaving the field free for Turkish forces to advance, has resulted in the Syrian regime’s rapprochement with the Kurds. Under an agreement with local Kurdish authorities, the Syrian army was deployed last week in many border areas, such as in the cities of Manbij and Kobani.