Turkish troops gather at the border with Afrin in January. Photo: Bulent Kilic/AFP
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region — Syrian forces will enter Afrin on Monday, according to a Kurdish politician from Syria.
"SDF and Syria have reached an agreement," Sheikho Bilo, an official from the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Unity Party (PYDKS) told Rudaw on Sunday.
The announcement comes as Turkey's month-long assault on Afrin, a Kurdish-dominated canton in northwest Syria, has managed to control 8 percent of the district in Aleppo province.
"The agreement is to protect borders," explained Bilo, adding that “the agreement is only militarily."
PYDKS has close relations with the YPG in northern Syria, but it is not a part of the ruling coalition (TEV-DEM) of the Northern Syrian Federation known as Rojava by Kurds.
The YPG is the armed wing of the Democratic Union Party (PYD). They have been the dominate force in northern Syria, backed by the US-led Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS in eastern Syria.
Both the Syrian government and PYD have made previous statements hinting of a Syrian Arab Army presence in Afrin.
Syria’s deputy foreign minister called on Kurds and Arabs in Afrin to unite against Turkey’s Operation Olive Branch.
“Afrin is an integral party of the Syrian Arab Republic,” Deputy Minister Faysal Mikdad said on Wednesday, state-run SANA reported.
“We affirm that the Syrian Arab Army defends every inch of the Syrian territory and Syria will return as unified as it has been throughout history,” he added, with respect to Afrin.
Damascus is working to combat Turkey’s offensive on Syrian territory, he said.
Rezan Hado media advisor to YPG said on Friday night that their forces welcome any Syrian citizen to go to Afrin and fight alongside them, including Assad forces.
Rezan Hado has been described as "an official from the Syrian National Defense" but also as "a media advisor to the YPG.”
Through the seven-year conflict, Kurdish and Syrian-regime fighters have largely avoided full-scale battles for territory.