Kurdish forces reject Assad regime's call to join army

Kurdish forces reject Assad regime's call to join army
3 min read
31 October, 2019
Kurdish forces have rejected a call to join the Syrian regime's army and police.
Syria's Kurds refuse to join the Assad regime's army [Getty]
Kurdish forces rejected a call on Wednesday from the Syrian regime's army and police to join their ranks following a Turkish cross-border incursion.

The appeal by the Syrian regime, led by Bashar al-Assad, comes after regime troops deployed along parts of Syria's northeastern border in a deal with Kurdish authorities to help stave off a Turkish offensive launched on 9 October.

It is the largest Syrian army deployment in the area since 2012.

A separate ceasefire agreement reached between Ankara and Damascus-backer Moscow last week provided for members of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces to withdraw from the border and solidified the presence of pro-regime forces there.

"The general command of the armed forces is ready to welcome members of SDF units who are willing to join its ranks," said a defence ministry statement carried by state news agency SANA.

It said all Syrians, including the Kurdish minority, were confronting "one enemy".

Syria's interior ministry said it was willing to provide police services to residents of the northeast, calling on members of the Kurdish internal security services, known as Asayish, to join its ranks, SANA reported. 

Read also: Russian air strikes kill 15 civilians in Idlib: SOHR

The SDF, de facto army of the Kurdish administration in northeast Syria, turned down the proposal.

It said "a unity of ranks must proceed from a political settlement that recognises and preserves the SDF's special status and structure".

Such a move would also require "a sound mechanism to restructure the Syrian military establishment", it said in a statement.

In a later statement, SDF chief Mazloum Abdi said his force had proposed an arrangement "that would preserve the SDF's special status in areas where it is present".

This would allow his force "to be part of the Syrian defence establishment", he wrote on Twitter.

Syria's interior ministry, for its part, offered police services to residents of the northeast, calling on members of the Kurdish internal security services, known as Asayish, to join its ranks, SANA reported.

The Turkish military and its Syrian proxies attacked Kurdish forces in northeastern Syria in early October with the aim of creating a roughly 30-kilometre (20-mile) deep buffer zone along the frontier.

Left in the lurch by a US troop withdrawal from the border area, Kurdish forces turned to the Syrian regime for protection.

Damascus forces rushed north and are expected to deploy along much of the border zone, but a 10-kilometre-deep strip is set to be jointly patrolled by Russian and Turkish troops under their deal.

The Syrian war began when the Baath regime, in power since 1963 and led by President Bashar al-Assad, responded with military force to peaceful protests demanding democratic reforms during the Arab Spring wave of uprisings, triggering an armed rebellion fuelled by mass defections from the Syrian army.

Hundreds of thousands of civilians have been killed in the war, mostly by the regime and its powerful allies, and millions have been displaced both inside and outside of Syria.

The brutal tactics pursued mainly by the regime, which have included the use of chemical weapons, sieges, mass executions and torture against civilians have led to war crimes investigations.

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