The Spokesman for the YPG (People’s Protection Units) in Afrin told reporters on Thursday that increasing numbers of Syrian government forces have joined their fight against Turkey in Afrin “to defend the soil of the homeland,” but denied any deal had been struck with Damascus.
He said, “they [Syrian Popular Forces] came here to defend the soil of the homeland and the borders of the state. They came here to stop the Turkish state and its tyranny. They are military forces and they have no role among the civil administration. These forces came to go to the fronts. There is no agreement on their stay in the cities. ”
The sentiment was echoed by other fighters present who said, “we have come to our Kurdish brothers to be one hand, our current mission is to protect Afrin, and to be one hand with the Kurds.”
Despite the denial, it is widely reported that forces loyal to the Assad government had agreed to a deal to help the YPG defend the Kurdish enclave of Afrin against a Turkish offensive, known as Operation Olive Branch.
Ankara has warned of a serious military response if Syrian forces arrived in the region. Erdogan promised to ‘lay siege to Afrin city’ during a recent address to parliament.