Turkey-backed rebel group refuses to attack Kurdish towns

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Turkey-backed Syrian rebels (R), and Kurdish YPG fighters (L). Photo: Jinda Ibrahim/ARA News

ARA News

The Descendants of Saladin Brigade has decided not to participate in the coming offensive against Afrin city. The brigade is allied to the Turkish Army and has received support from the US.

Commander Mahmoud Khallo spoke to ARA news on Monday and confirmed the Saladin Brigade’s new policy. In the past, the Saladin Brigade has said that it was willing to attack the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG).

In March, another Saladin Brigade commander told the Middle East Eye that the YPG were working against Kurdish-interests and that they “were trying to ignite a sectarian war between Arabs and Kurds.”

That commander, Mahmoud Abu Hamza, then said that “if the YPG does not retreat from Tal Rafat and the Mennagh Airbase, we will fight them there.”

The Saladin Brigade is the only Kurdish militia which was part of the Euphrates Shield Operation. It includes a high percentage of Kurdish fighters, who have remained loyal to the Syrian opposition and are currently based near Qabasin.

During the last few days, sporadic clashes have taken place between the YPG and Turkey’s expeditionary forces. Turkey has also amassed as many as 20,000 rebels, who are preparing to launch an attack on YPG-held areas.

Murat Karayilan, a senior Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) leader, said that any attack on Afrin would not be done without the consent of Russia, Iran and the Syrian regime. Karayilan added that Turkey is trying to strike a bargain, though which it will occupy swaths of north-western Syria.

Reporting by: Wladimir van Wilgenburg | Source: ARA News

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