Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu (L) shakes hands with Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi before their joint news conference in Amman, Jordan.- Reuters
Beirut - The deal underscores the increasingly tangled battlefield in northern Syria.
Syrian Kurdish forces and the Damascus government have reached an agreement for the Syrian army to enter the Afrin region to help repel a Turkish offensive, a senior Kurdish official said on Sunday.
Badran Jia Kurd, an adviser to the Kurdish-led administration in northern Syria, told Reuters army troops would deploy along some border positions and could enter the region within the next two days.
The deal underscores the increasingly tangled battlefield in northern Syria, driven by a web of rivalries and alliances among Kurdish forces, the Syrian government, rebel factions, Turkey, the United States and Russia.
The complex relationship between the Damascus government and Syrian Kurdish forces, which each holds more territory than any other side in the war, will be pivotal in how the conflict unfolds.
Ankara launched an air and ground offensive on Afrin last month targeting the Kurdish YPG militia, which it views as a terrorist group with links to an armed insurrection in Turkey.
Turkey's Nato ally the United States has armed the YPG as part of an alliance it backs in Syria against Daesh. 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 international silence," Jia Kurd said.
There was no immediate comment from the Syrian military.
When asked about the reported deal, YPG spokesman Nouri Mahmoud repeated an earlier statement that said the Syrian army had yet to respond to their calls to help protect Afrin.
Although Syrian President Bashar Al Assad's government and the YPG have mostly avoided direct conflict, they have occasionally clashed and they espouse utterly different visions for Syria's future. Jia Kurd said the agreement with Damascus on Afrin was purely military and included no wider political arrangements.
"When it comes to the political and administrative matters in the region, it will be agreed upon with Damascus in the later stages through direct negotiations and discussions," he said.
Turkey ready to confront Syrian forcesTurkey's foreign minister warned on Monday that Turkey's military would confront any Syrian government forces entering the northwest Afrin province to protect Kurdish YPG fighters.
"If the regime is entering there to cleanse the PKK and PYD, then there are no problems," Cavusoglu said, referring to the military loyal to President Bashar Al Assad.
"However, if it comes in to defend the YPG, then nothing and nobody can stop us or Turkish soldiers." he told a news conference during a visit to the Jordanian capital Amman.