World

Turkish, Syrian intelligence may cooperate for common purposes

Turkish, Syrian intelligence may cooperate for common purposes

Turkey has called for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's ouster and supported opposition fighters throughout the seven-year conflict.

He added that the militias were forced to go back after artillery shooting. "It doesn't matter who makes such an attempt, there will be serious consequences".

However, Istanbul has denied that pro-Assad forces in Afrin are working in coordination with Damascus. The Turkish forces are involved in anti-PKK raids across the country.

The new phase of confrontation, pitting the Turkish army and its allies directly against pro-Assad forces, further scrambles the complex web of alliances and rivalries already at play in northern Syria.

The YPG said in a statement that they welcomed the arrival of the pro-government forces.

Two Turkish servicemen were killed near the Turkish-Iraqi border as a result of an explosion of a booby trap staged by members of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), banned in the country, the General Staff of the Turkish Armed Forces said on Wednesday in a statement.

Pro-Syrian government forces wave Syrian national flags as they ride on pickup trucks upon arriving in Syria's northern region of Afrin on February 20, 2018, with the Syrian Asayish (Kurdish) security forces' flag seen flying in the background. The pro-Assad commander said Russian Federation had intervened to "delay the entry" of Syrian army troops, and so allied "popular forces" with heavy weaponry went instead.

Syrian state media on Monday said that pro-Damascus forces would head to Afrin to "join the resistance against the Turkish aggression".

Russia's chief objectives in Syria are to bolster President Bashar al-Assad and maximize the territory he controls in order to weaken the USA and divide NATO, Skinner said.

Government forces, supported by Russian air strikes and Iran-backed militias, are also carrying out offensives on two major rebel strongholds - the north-western province of Idlib and the besieged Eastern Ghouta region. "Moscow holds numerous cards and has, on balance, been playing them well".

The Turkish offensive was slow to achieve gains along the frontier but appears to have accelerated recently, pushing several kilometres into Syria.

Turkey regards the YPG as the Syrian extension of the Kurdish PKK movement which has waged a three-decade insurgency on its territory, though the groups say they are independent.


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