Syria’s Kurds strike deal with Assad after being abandoned by US

Kurdish-led forces in Syria have struck a deal with Bashar al-Assad’s government to hand over areas along the border to the Syrian army in a last ditch effort to halt a Turkish attack.

The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces, one of the west’s key allies in the fight against Isis, said the army would deploy along the border with Turkey “to repel this aggression and liberate the areas entered by the Turkish army and its hired mercenaries”.

The deal was struck in response to a wide-scale military operation launched by Turkey against the SDF last week, which has killed more than 60 civilians and sparked fears of ethnic cleansing.

Turkey’s armed forces and allied Syrian rebels have made rapid gains in the past week, taking control of two cities along the border and threatening to advance further. General Mazloum Kobani Abdi, commander of the SDF, described the operation as an “existential threat” to Syria’s Kurds.

The agreement could spell the end of a years-long experiment in autonomy led by Syria’s Kurds, and marks a major shift in alliances for the embattled community.

Turkey has long threatened to attack the SDF, which it considers a terror organisation for its links to a Kurdish separatist group that has fought the Turkish state for decades. Ankara said its military operation was launched to implement a “safe zone” along its border with Syria, free of SDF fighters.

But the SDF – a mostly Kurdish militia with a smaller Arab contingent – has been a key ally of the US in the fight against Isis. The presence of US troops in Syria alongside the group had acted as a deterrence for a Turkish assault. That changed quickly last week when Donald Trump made a shock announcement that the US would not stand in the way of Turkey’s plans to enter Syria. The SDF described the abrupt shift as a “stab in the back”.

The deal will see the Syrian army deployed along a large stretch of the Turkey-Syria border, the SDF said, in an effort to deter any further Turkish incursion.

The agreement brings its own dangers, however. For decades, Kurds in Syria have faced repression and discrimination at the hands of the government. Although the civil war had caused great upheaval for the community, it has also allowed them to win new freedoms, which may now be lost again.

yria’s Kurds took over control of majority Kurdish areas from the government shortly after the outbreak of Syria’s civil war in 2011, but largely refrained from directly fighting it.

In the time since, it extended that area of control beyond Kurdish areas as it recaptured territory held by Isis.

Over the past few years it has built an alternative form of governance in the areas under its control, with the eventual aim of creating an autonomous administration that would outlast the war.

  • Published in World

Syria hosts conference on educational development

Damascus, Sep 27 (Prensa Latina) Sessions of the Educational Development Conference opened on Friday at the Conference Center in Damascus, organized under the theme: 'A Future Educational Vision to Enhance the Rebuilding of Humans and the Homeland.'

A total of 1,700 delegates representing ministries, education institutions, centers and organizations, in addition to 630 foreign experts accredited by the United Nations, from countries such as Germany, Iran, Russia, India, Egypt and Pakistan, are participating in the event.

During his opening remarks, Syrian Minister of Education Imad Muwaffaq al-Azab ratified Damascus' commitment to an organized educational transformation based on plans studied with community participation.


The speeches in the sessions of the event specially focused on linking education with labor market and production.

The Conference aims to form an advanced national strategic vision for education in Syria through 2030, in accordance with 21st century requirements and in light of the transformations of the current society.

  • Published in Culture

Turkish military enters Syria to begin joint US ‘safe zone’ patrol

Armed Turkish military vehicles crossed into Syria on Sunday and headed southwest with US counterparts to begin planned joint patrols to establish a “safe zone” along a border region mainly controlled by Kurdish forces.

According to the report by Reuters, vehicles with Turkish flags joined those in Syria with US flags some 15 kilometers (nine miles) east of the Turkish border town of Akcakale, near Syria’s Tel Abyad. Two military helicopters were seen overhead.

The region east of the Euphrates river is mainly controlled by Kurdish YPG forces, US allies that Ankara has labelled terrorists because it says they have links to Kurdish militants in Turkey.

After intensive negotiations, Turkey and the United States have also set up a joint operation centre but have so far disagreed over the zone’s depth and over the command structure of the forces to operate there.

The NATO allies have conducted multiple joint helicopter patrols over the area. Turkey, which hosts some 3.6 million Syrian refugees after eight years of war south of its border, hopes to resettle 1 million refugees in northern Syria.

“Our geography is an advantage, but we are at a disadvantage in terms of migration and terror,” Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said in a CNN Turk interview Sunday.

“If US forces can patrol in the east of Euphrates with our forces and can enter with their own troops, and if there are the (Turkish) observation points in Idlib (in northwest Syria), this is all due to the steps taken by Turkey.”

With US backing over the last four years, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) alliance that the YPG spearheads has taken control of much of northeastern Syria from Islamic State militants.

Many of the inhabitants of the predominately Arab area that is expected to comprise the safe zone – including Tel Abyad, Ras al Ain and several Arab villages – had fled to Turkey fearing reprisals by the YPG on charges they had links to Islamic State.

  • Published in World

Cuban Ambassador Highlights Relations with Syria

Cuba's ambassador, Miguel Porto Parga, highlighted this Saturday in an interview with the national agency SANA, his country''s ties with Syria on the 54th anniversary of relations between the two nations.

In the information, the Cuban diplomat underscored the coincidences of both nations in the defense of sovereignty, independence and support for just causes in the world against the coercive measures of the United States.

Syria and Cuba are celebrating the 54th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations this month at a time when they continue to face challenges and a common enemy represented by the United States, which imposes an economic embargo on the peoples of both countries, Porto said.

Our country, the ambassador stressed, will participate in the activities of the 61st edition of the Damascus International Fair despite the economic embargo imposed on Cuba, and explained that the Cuban pavilion will include Cuban products related to life-saving technology and medicines.

He also reviewed Syrian Cuban relations since the time of contacts between the leaders of the two countries, Fidel Castro and Hafez Al Assad, among other issues of mutual interest.

  • Published in Cuba

Parliamentary Group for Cuban-Syrian Friendship : Syria will absolutely triumph over terrorism

Vice-Chairman of the Parliamentary Group for the Cuban-Syrian Friendship Santiago Badia affirmed that Syria will absolutely triumph in its war against terrorism.

Badia’s remarks came during a meeting with Syrian Ambassador in Cuba Dr. Idris Mayya.

Badia hailed the steadfastness of the Syrian people and army in the face of the conspiracy hatched against their country.

He expressed his country’s rejection of any foreign interference in Syria’s internal affairs, underlining the importance of enhancing parliamentary relations between the two countries.

For his part, Mayya called for further strengthening the parliamentary cooperation between the two countries and for activating the work of the parliamentary friendship societies to serve the best interests of the two friendly peoples and countries.

  • Published in Cuba

Erdoğan meets Merkel, Putin ahead of Syria summit

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan met with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Russian President Vladimir Putin in Istanbul on Saturday ahead of a four-way Syria summit.

The summit on Syria, hosted by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, will see the participation of Russian President Vladimir Putin, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and French President Emmanuel Macron.

Staffan de Mistura, the UN special Syria envoy, will also attend the summit.

During the summit, the leaders will address the Syrian conflict in all its aspects, focusing on the situation on the ground, the Idlib agreement, and the political process, and harmonizing joint efforts to find a lasting solution to the conflict.

The leaders will also discuss the Sept. 17 agreement between Ankara and Moscow to establish a demilitarized zone in Syria's northwestern province of Idlib.

  • Published in World

Cuba: Backing Syria is firm Cuban decision

Cuban Minister of Foreign Trade and Investment, Rodrigo Malmierca Diaz affirmed his country’s support for Syria in its war against terrorism.

During his meeting with Health Minister Dr. Nizar Yazigi in Havana on Thursday, the Cuban Minister said that “standing by Syria and supporting it is a firm Cuban decision that is based on Cuba’s consistent policy of supporting friends and allies.”

The Cuban minister noted that the signing of a medical cooperation agreement contributes to enhancing the relations between the two countries in this field and allows the establishment of relations with Syria in other fields.

On Wednesday, Syrian and Cuban Health Ministries signed a medical cooperation agreement to strengthen relations in this field.

“It’s our duty to provide all kinds of help to the Syrian people in light of the current ordeal they are going through,” he said.

The Cuban official expressed  his confidence that Syria will triumph over terrorism thanks to the  sacrifices of its army and steadfastness of the Syrian people and their leadership.

In turn,  Yazigi, considered  the agreement as a “starting point for building a strategic partnership for cooperation in health field and the other fields, transferring  biotechnology and  importing medicine in both directions, training and exchanging expertise and researches.

  • Published in Cuba
Subscribe to this RSS feed