Senior US official: Kurds are part of Syria’s ceasefire agreement

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Kurdish members of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in Aleppo. Photo: ARA News

ARA News 

ALEPPO – A senior US official on Wednesday said that the Kurds are part of the cessation of hostilities in Syria and should not be attacked, and are present near the key Castello Road in Aleppo.

“So Kurdish forces – as was the case with the cessation of hostilities, they are a party on the ground, so they are also party to the cessation, which means that they should not be attacked or attack other parties to the cessation,” the US official said in a special background briefing on Syria.

“And that was true back in February and it’s true now, and it’s not a matter of anyone pushing for that. That was just an obligation that every fighting force on the ground – again, other than ISIL and Nusra – was asked to subscribe to, and the Kurdish forces agreed to it,” the official added.

Moreover, the US official confirmed the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) are also present near the Castello Road in Aleppo.

“The Kurds are present and so there’s some steps that they might have to take a little bit further in the coming days just to make sure that the Castello Road is viewed and that area is viewed as a demilitarized zone where there could be greater traffic, greater humanitarian traffic, unimpeded and unthreatened,” the official added. “[This] was part of the overall negotiation, first to make sure that all parties would commit to the cessation, and second for the separate arrangement having to do with Castello Road because there are some Kurdish forces in proximity to the road.” 

The Russian army deployed checkpoints on the strategic Castello Road, to secure the entrance of the aid and medical supplies to Aleppo city as part of the international agreement between Russia and the United States on the ceasefire.

Sharvan Darwish, a spokesperson for the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), stressed their support to the ‘Kerry-Lavrov’ agreement. However, he accused some rebel groups of supporting the al-Qaeda-affiliated militants in Syria. 

“The agreement is an important step and a strategy to put an end to the violence, but the so-called ‘moderate rebels’ do not give heed to it. The international community must know that those ‘moderate rebels’ are not moderate but rather another face of terrorism,” he said in a public statement, accusing some rebel groups of supporting Al-Qaeda’s Nusra Front.

“Any side that violates this agreement should be severely punished by the international community,”the SDF spokesman said. “Syria has suffered a lot by the killings and destruction, displacement and hunger.” 

“The agreement is a good initiative to stop the killings committed by the Syrian regime on one hand, and by terrorist groups on the other hand,” he concluded.

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