Kurdish forces agree to hand over Afrin to Syrian regime troops - Shaam

Two or foreign combatants, identified as Olivier François Jean Le Clainche, of French nationality, and Sjoerd Heeger, Dutch, were killed next to Spanish.

"Forces will arrive in Afrin in the coming hours to support the steadfastness of its people in confronting the aggression which Turkish regime fighters have launched on the region", Syria's agency SANA reported. The YPG have expressed ir "respect and gratitude to all worldwide martyrs" and have offered ir condolences to families of victims and ir loved ones.

On Jan. 20, the Turkish military, alongside elements of the Free Syrian Army (FSA), launched "Operation Olive Branch" to clear YPG, the armed wing of the PYD, from Afrin.

Mevlut Cavusoglu spoke on Monday in Jordan's capital, Amman, as Syrian state media reported that pro-Syrian government forces will begin entering the Afrin enclave "within hours", after reaching an agreement with the Kurdish militia in control of the region.

Turkey views the YPG as a terrorist group with links to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).

It was the first time the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), an alliance of Kurdish and Arab fighters, has claimed a cross-border attack on Turkish forces.

The presence of the Syrian government in Afrin will only be militarily, as the political and administrative issues are yet to be concluded, according to the report.

There was some opposition to the deal that could stand in its way, he added. The PKK is the Kurdish group mounting an insurgency in Turkey.

Turkey's North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally the United States has armed the YPG as part of an alliance it backs in Syria against Islamic State, causing widespread anger in Ankara.

Northern Syria hosts an extremely complex mix of alliances between different worldwide and regional players.

It comes after Syrian Kurdish officials said the government in Damascus had agreed to send troops.

Ankara launched an offensive in the Afrin area of northern Syria last month against the YPG which it considers a terror group but which is allied with USA forces in the fight against IS.

Vanessa Coleman

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