07:46 GMT +325 September 2018
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    A picture shows the Kurdish-majority town of Afrin in northern Syria, on January 23, 2018, as Turkish troops and their Syrian rebel allies pressed an assault on the border enclave

    Pro-Syrian Gov't Forces to Enter Afrin 'Within Hours' - State Media

    © AFP 2018 / Ahmad SHAFIA BILAL
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    While Damascus has yet to comment on the information, a YPG official previously debunked claims that the Syrian army is set to enter the battle in Afrin.

    Syrian state television channel Ikhbariya reported that pro-Syrian government forces would enter Syria's Afrin area "within hours."

    "Popular forces will enter Afrin within hours," Ikhbariya said, citing its own correspondent.

    READ MORE: YPG Official Rep: Syria Should Close Airspace for Turkish Jets

    YPG representative in Afrin Brusk Haseke has debunked reports claiming that pro-Syrian government forces are set to enter the region within hours according to arrangements with Kurdish units.

    “The Information is not true. We have repeatedly stated that the Syrian government army has not and will not enter Afrin. We will make an official announcement if an agreement is reached or the situation changes in any way. We are sick and tired of the constant fake news. If the Syrian army enters Afrin, we won’t hide the information from the public. We will announce that the forces are entering Afrin to help the locals. Civilians in Afrin and Aleppo mistakenly believe that the Syrian army has entered, while it’s merely civilian buses arriving in the city,” Haseke told Sputnik.

    Yet he avoided answering the question whether negotiations between the Syrian army and Kurdish YPG had been held, saying he did not have such information.

    “The Syrian government army has not been left on the sidelines. YPG and the government forces have constantly been in talks. The army sends arms, ammunition and food to Afrin. Moreover, the Syrian army is keeping the eastern front of Afrin open, controlling arrivals and departures. Government forces never sealed the road,” Ömer Osi, a member of the Syrian parliament, told Sputnik.

    READ MORE: Syria to Continue Fighting 'Aggressors,' Whether it's Israel, US or Turkey

    Earlier in the day, Senior Kurdish official, Badran Jia Kurd, told Reuters that Syrian Kurdish forces and the country’s government had agreed on the deployment of Syrian army troops along border positions in the Afrin region to curb the Turkish campaign, and that the military would enter the beleaguered Afrin within the next two days.

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

    He also noted that the accord was purely military, and did not include any 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.

    Last week Rojhat Roj, commander of the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) in Afrin lambasted reports of Kurdish fighters reaching an agreement with Damascus to have Syrian troops deployed in the region to repel Turkish forces.

    READ MORE: Damascus to Deploy Forces in Afrin — Reports

    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.”

    Earlier Mayadeen, the Lebanese broadcaster, reported that Damascus and the Kurdish militias had sealed a deal, and that the Syrian armed forces were about to enter Afrin to deter Turkish forces.

    A source familiar with the situation told Sputnik that the Syrian Armed Forces would enter the territory near the border with Turkey in the district of Afrin in the next few days.

    On January 20, Turkey launched an offensive on Afrin, codenamed “Olive Branch,” targeting the Kurdish YPG, allegedly affiliated with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which Ankara regards as a terrorist organization. Damascus has firmly condemned Turkey’s military campaign, calling it a violation of the country’s sovereignty.

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    kurds, Afrin, Turkey, Syria
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