US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces. (Photo credit: Delil Souleiman / AFP)
The head of the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) has said the Kurdish group would welcome coordination with Damascus for fending off the invasion of Turkish forces into the country, according to a statement given to Reuters on 5 June.
SDF commander Mazloum Abdi expressed his willingness to coordinate with the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) in defending Syrian territory, saying that “an essential act by the Syrian army in defending Syrian territory would be to use air defense systems against Turkish planes.”
The head of the SDF noted that they do not require the presence of additional Syrian Arab Army (SAA) forces and have only requested air defenses.
“Our priority is defending Syrian territory, and no one should think about taking advantage of that situation to make gains on the ground,” he said.
The SDF currently assists the US armed forces in illegally occupying Syrian soil, which includes the theft of Syria’s oil resources.
The Turkish military began a new military campaign in Syria on 25 May, launching an offensive on several villages in the northwestern countryside of Hasakah governorate and the city of Afrin, targeting Kurdish militias, including the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) and the SDF.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the operation will resume efforts to establish a 30-kilometer long ‘safe zone’ along Turkey’s southern borders.
Ankara’s forces also attacked several areas in Syria’s northern Idlib governorate on 1 June, including positions occupied by the US-led coalition, according to local reports.
That was the first time that Ankara’s forces have targeted positions held by its NATO allies in Syria.
On 25 May, the Syrian Foreign Ministry issued a statement to the UN condemning the Turkish occupation and saying that further incursions by Turkey’s military into Syria would be considered “war crimes and crimes against humanity.”
The SDF leader also stated that he hopes the meeting of the Russian and Turkish foreign ministers will lead to de-escalation in Syria and an end to Turkish drone attacks in northern Syria.
Russia recently began bombing Turkish-backed rebels in Syria for the first time since the start of the war, with airstrikes on the Syrian-Turkish border on 27 May and on the Aleppo countryside on 29 May.