Army to enter Afrin within hours

Army to enter Afrin within hours

Militias allied to the Syrian government will enter the Afrin region within hours, state media reported on Monday, after a reported deal to help Kurdish forces repel a Turkish assault.

The Syrian government in Damascus has offered no confirmation.

Meanwhile, YPG commander Sipan Hemo argued that the Syrian army should take most of the responsibility for the defense of Afrin against what he described as a Turkish invasion, calling on Damascus to "immediately send in reinforcements to the border region with Turkey".

On Saturday, the head of Afrin hospital in northern Syria claimed that men were treated late Friday after shelling during the offensive and had symptoms that were in line with exposure to toxic agents.

There was no immediate comment from the Syrian military.

Last month, Turkish forces, backed by local Syrian Arab fighters, launched an incursion into Afrin, a border canton administered by a local Kurdish-led council and defended by the YPG militia.

The alleged agreement was also reported by Iraqi Kurdish media group Rudaw - which quoted a Kurdish politician from Syria - and a news agency which backs Syrian Kurdish forces.

Turkey says the YPG is linked to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which has been waging an insurgency against the Turkish state since 1984. But while Washington has a military presence in the much larger swathes of Syria that the YPG and its allies control further east, it has not given support to the YPG in Afrin.

"We can cooperate with any side that lends us a helping hand in light of the barbaric crimes and the worldwide silence", Jia Kurd said Sunday, according to Reuters.

However, he added that the alleged agreement - which he said did not include any political arrangements - could fall through.

Northern Syria hosts an extremely complex mix of alliances between different worldwide and regional players.

The Syrian government has allowed some YPG militants to reach Afrin through its territory, representatives of both sides have told Reuters in recent weeks.

Quite explicitly, Onhon said that Turkey is not against the Kurds in Syria nor is it targeting them.

Turkey repudiated the use of chemical weapons in Syria during its military operations.