Kurdish forces in Syria have asked Russia to put pressure on Turkey, which is bombing their regions in the northeast of the country, to dissuade it from launching a ground offensive, their leader said on Tuesday (November 29th).

During an online press conference, Mazloum Abdi however assured that his Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF, dominated by the Kurds) "will defend themselves" if Turkey launches the assault.

>> To read: "The Kurd is the ideal scapegoat that Ankara and Tehran currently need"

Ankara launched on November 20 a series of air raids in northeastern Syria on positions of Kurdish fighters, members of groups described as "terrorists" by Ankara.

And its president Recep Tayyip Erdogan reiterated last week his intention to order, "when the time comes", a ground offensive.

Mazloum Abdi, commander-in-chief of the SDF, met on Saturday with the commander-in-chief of the Russian forces in Syria, General Alexandre Chaiko, at the military airport of Qamichli.

"We asked them to stop the Turkish attacks," said the Kurdish military official.

According to him, "it is clear that the Turks (...) are preparing" for a ground offensive.

SDS Warning

Moscow, an ally of the Syrian regime, and Washington, which supports the Kurds of Syria, recently called on Ankara to "restrain".

If Turkey carries out its threats, "we will be forced to expand the scope of this war" to encompass the entire border area, warned Mazloum Abdi, who lamented the "weak" position of Washington.

Turkey launched its raids after an attack that killed six people and injured dozens in Istanbul on November 13, accusing the Kurds of having ordered it, which they denied.

>> To read: In northern Syria, the Kurds once again in Erdogan's sights

The Turkish president on Friday reaffirmed the objective of establishing a "security belt from west to east" along the border with Syria.

Since November 20, around 75 people have been killed in Turkish strikes, mostly SDF fighters, as well as around ten Syrian civilians and soldiers, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (OSDH).

"Compliance with the 2019 agreement with Turkey"

Thanks to the war in Syria, which started in 2011 and which divided the country, the Kurds of Syria took control of a large part of the northeast, establishing an autonomous administration despite the wrath of Ankara.

Russia had played a mediating role in the previous Turkish offensive in 2019 and secured an agreement under which the Syrian army and Russian forces deployed along the border.

Mazloum Abdi stressed that "what is currently being discussed (with the Russians) is the respect by the parties concerned of the 2019 agreement with Turkey".

He said he accepted a larger deployment of Syrian regime forces in the border area with Turkey if it could prevent a Turkish ground offensive.

Since the beginning of the conflict in Syria, the Kurds have avoided any confrontation with the regime in Damascus, except for limited skirmishes, and have maintained their relations with the central power.

With AFP

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