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Russia, Syria and the Kurds 'agree resistance' to Turkish invasion of Afrin

THREE-WAY talks between Russia, the Syrian government and the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) have produced an agreement on resisting Turkey’s invasion of the Afrin region of Aleppo province.

A third detachment of government-aligned Kurdish militia entered Afrin yesterday through the al-Ziyara crossing to help defend the predominantly Kurdish region from Turkish aggression.

Russian military police escorted the convoys at the crossing, signalling to Ankara that there should be no repeat of its bombardment when the first government-sanctioned buses arrived.

Al-Watan newspaper reported that 500 pro-government militiamen had been deployed to Afrin and taken up position along the region's borders.

YPG spokesman Nuri Mehmud said the pro-government fighters have armoured vehicles with them and had arrived at the request of Kurdish authorities "to defend Syrian lands."

The tripartite negotiations provided for YPG authority over districts of Aleppo city and other areas of the eponymous province being transferred to the Assad government.

Control of the Bustan Basha, Al-Halk, Baiden, Al-Haidariyah, and Ayn Al-Abyad city districts was handed over, but there was no mention of the large Sheikh Maqsoud district.

Russian media agency Sputnik reported last night that Syrian army forces were expected to enter the YPG-held town of Tell Rifaat in northern Aleppo “within a few hours.”

Russian warplanes carried out a night bombing of jihadist targets in eastern Ghouta on Wednesday night after Moscow’s Defence Ministry said that peace negotiations had been derailed.

“The humanitarian and socio-economic situation in East Ghouta is getting critical,” said spokesman Major General Yuri Yevtushenko.

“Appeals by the Russian reconciliation centre to illegal armed groups to end resistance, surrender arms and regulate their status did not bring positive results.”

Russia also announced the arrival of warplane reinforcements at Khmeimim air base, including a number of the latest fifth-generation Su-57 stealth air superiority fighters, four Su-35S multirole fighters and four Su-25 ground attack aircraft.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said last night that Moscow would consider supporting a UN security council ceasefire resolution if it exempts Isis and al-Qaida-linked forces.



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