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Kurdish forces agree deal with Syrian Army

KURDISH forces have reportedly struck a deal with the Syrian army in northern Syria which could signify a major shift in relations towards President Bashar al-Assad’s government.

A preliminary agreement was made between the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and the Kurdish-led People’s Protection Units (YPG) after government officials met with Kurdish delegates in the capital Damascus and Qamishli on yesterday.

Under the terms of the deal the YPG has agreed to remove all posters of Kurdish leader Abdullah Ocalan from the streets and areas under their control in Al-Hasakah.

YPG forces also agreed to allow the Syrian army to reopen recruitment offices in the region as military sources said discussions were underway regarding the establishment of joint checkpoints in Al-Hasakah.

The Syrian government is hoping to convince the Kurdish Democratic Federation of Northern Syria to join forces across the country and hand over control of border crossings into Iraq and Turkey.

The YPG is asking that the government teaches the Kurdish language as part of the Syrian education system and includes the period YPG fighters have served towards service in the SAA.

They have also asked for a permanent seat in the Syrian oil ministry.

The deal could reflect a significant shift away from US influence in the north-east of Syria which has been under joint Kurdish-US control for over a year.

The Syrian government has long called on the Kurds to end their alliance with the US, which they deem an “occupying force.”

Mr Assad warned in May that the government would take Kurdish-held areas by force if necessary – but that it was “opening doors for negotiations.”

Last month more than 70 Syrian tribes announced a “resistance front” against “foreign intervention and the American presence on Syrian soil.”

The unit said it would fight alongside the SAA threatening to “make a direct move against” the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and US troops in northern Syria.

The change in relations comes after Kurdish forces reportedly turned down a deal offered by the Syrian government and Russia in January to protect Afrin from the invading Turkish forces as it would have meant conceding Kurdish-held territory to Mr Assad.

Officials were concerned that handing control of the province to the Syrian government would threaten the future viability of the Kurdish enclave known as Rojava.

However more than 170,000 people are believed to have been forced to flee the province which was taken under Turkish control in March.

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