The commander of US-backed Kurdish forces in Syria on Friday urged Russia and Iran to prevent Turkey from launching a new attack in the country’s north, days before an expected Syria summit.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan - who will meet his Russian and Iranian counterparts next week to discuss Syria - has warned that he may soon launch a new offensive in Syria against Kurdish fighters.
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These include the US-backed Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), which formed a crucial part of an international coalition against ISIS.
Mazloum Abdi, chief commander of the Syrian Democratic Forces, accused the international coalition of taking a “weak” position that is “insufficient to end the threats.”
Abdi said that following negotiations with Russia, Kurdish forces had allowed the Syrian regime to bring more troops into Kurdish-controlled areas such as Kobane and Manbij in the north of the country.
Russia, Turkey and Iran have in recent years been holding talks on Syria as part of the so-called “Astana peace process” to end more than 11 years of conflict in the Middle Eastern country.
Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi is set to host Erdogan and Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday.
Turkey has launched successive offensives in neighboring Syria since 2016, targeting Kurdish fighters as well as ISIS and forces loyal to Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad.
The Syrian government has repeatedly condemned Turkish threats to mount a new incursion and has called Erdogan’s bid to create a so-called “safe zone” inside Syria an attack on its unity.
The SDF has warned that an invasion by Ankara would undermine efforts to combat ISIS in Syria’s northeast.
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