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Kurds strike deal with Syrian government to repel Turkish forces
13 October 2019, 22:15
Kurdish officials have announced a deal has been agreed with the Syrian government to fend off the Turkish advance into the region.
In a statement on its Facebook page, the Kurdish administration said: "In order to prevent and confront this aggression, an agreement has been reached with the Syrian government... so that the Syrian army can deploy along the Syrian-Turkish border to assist the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF)."
In a major shift of alliance, the statement added the deployment would support the SDF in fighting "this aggression and liberating the areas that the Turkish army and mercenaries had entered", referring to Turkey-backed Syrian rebels.
The Syrian Kurds were previously persecuted by the Baathist government, although the SDF have rarely clashed with the Syrian government in the duration of the civil war.
It is also hoped the union will allow for the liberation of other Syrian cities occupied by the Turkish army such as Afrin, in the north-west.
Turkish-backed forces have been pushing deeper into Syria for the past five days, after Donald Trump announced the US was withdrawing its 1,000 soldiers from the north of Syria.
He claimed he wanted to stop getting involved in "endless wars", but has been criticised and accused of endagering the lives of Syrian Kurdish allies.
The move has destabilised major areas in the region and led to the fall of a major prison camps.
Around 1,000 ISIS members have broken out of Kurdish prisons over the weekend, igniting fears the group - which was previously defeated with the help of US forces - could re-establish itself.
The SDF - once a major ally of the US in the fight against ISIS - has branded Washington's move as a "stab in the back."
Kurdish-led forces have established control over key areas of east and north Syria, and have maintained they want autonomy rather than independence.
Earlier today, at least 11 people were killed in a Turkish air strike which hit a convoy carrying civilians, journalists and aid workers.
A spokesperson for the Kurdish forces said that in addition to the dead, a further 74 were injured. It is not clear how many were civilians.
A journalist from the Hawar News Agency is reported to be among the dead.
A spokesperson for the organisation earlier wrote: "This afternoon, the convoy of civilians, which headed from Qamishlo and Tal Tamer to the city of Serekaniye [Ras al-Ain], was bombed by Turkish occupation aircraft.
"As a result, our correspondent, Saad Al-Ahmad, who was accompanying the convoy, was martyred, and our correspondent, Muhammad Akinci, was injured, in addition to a number of martyrs and wounded civilians."