Syrian Regime Deploys Troops North to Counter ‘Turkish Aggression’
Syrian regime troops entered Monday the northern town of Tal Tamer that is close to Turkey's border, after Damascus reached an agreement with the Kurdish-led forces controlling the region to deploy into the area to counter an attack by Turkey.
Syria's state news agency SANA said the troops moved into the area to "confront the Turkish aggression," without giving further details.
It did not say from which area the Syrian forces marched toward the town.
The move toward Tal Tamer came a day after Syria's Kurds said regime forces agreed to help them fend off Turkey's invasion — a major shift in alliances that came after President Donald Trump ordered all US troops withdrawn from the northern border area amid the rapidly deepening chaos.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the deal covered the towns of Kobani and Manbij. US troops have been deployed in the towns after they were cleared of ISIS in 2015.
A top Syrian Kurdish official said the “preliminary military” deal with Damascus is limited to the deployment along the border and the two sides will discuss political issues later.
Badran Jia Kurd told Reuters the deal is for regime forces to enter border areas from the town of Manbij to Derik in the northeast.
He said the Kurdish-led authority was forced to look for ways to protect the region after the US “gave the green light” for a Turkish offensive into the region.
Tal Tamer is on a strategically important highway, the M4, that runs east to west. Turkish forces said they had seized the highway on Sunday.
Tal Tamer is 35 km (20 miles) southeast of Ras al-Ain, one of the focal points of the Turkish assault.
Turkey aims to neutralize the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), the main element of Washington’s Kurdish-led ally, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which has been key in defeating ISIS in Syria.
Ankara regards the YPG as a terrorist group aligned with Kurdish insurgents in Turkey.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Sunday said the offensive would extend from Kobani in the west to Hasaka in the east and extend some 30 km (19 miles) into Syrian territory, with the town of Ras al-Ain now in Turkish control.