Assad's army joins Kurds to repel the Turkish offensive. Isis danger grows

Agreement reached between the two former rivals, through Russia mediation. The goal is "to free all occupied cities" starting from Afrin. 800 relatives of "foreign fighters" of the "Caliphate" have escaped. Isis behind the death of a famous Kurdish activist. The United States confirms the disengagement by withdrawing the last thousand remaining soldiers.

Damascus (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The Syrian Kurds have reached an agreement with the government army of Bashar al-Assad, to curb Turkey's military offensive that began last week and has already caused hundreds of victims, including civilians, and over 100,000 displaced persons. News also confirmed by the government media in Damascus, which speak of a shift of troops to the north, while the United States is ready to withdraw even the last thousand remaining soldiers.

The agreement between Kurds and Syrians is the result of the mediation of Russian President Vladimir Putin, today on an official visit to Saudi Arabia. Yesterday at the Angelus Pope Francis launched a new appeal for the "battered Syria", asking all involved to "sincerely commit to the path of dialogue to seek effective solutions". Previously, the World Council of Churches also expressed a "firm condemnation" of the Turkish offensive.

Returning to the agreement between the Kurds and Damascus, the Syrian army will be stationed all along the border with Turkey. The Assad military will assist the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), an Arab-Kurdish alliance that was the protagonist of the fight against the Islamic State (IS, formerly Isis), in countering their "aggression" and "liberating the areas where the Turkish army and mercenaries have entered ". The reference is to the allies of Ankara, militia and fighting groups, some of which are linked to jihadism (former al Qaeda).

The goal of the alliance between the Kurds and the regular Syrian army is to "liberate all the occupied cities", starting from Afrin. An agreement, the experts point out, that marks a turning point in the relations between the two fronts, divided in the past by how much Kurds could count on the support of the United States, which has been withdrawn after President Trump’s recent decision.

What Damascus has demanded in a return for its support remains unknown. However, the leader Sdf Mazioum Abdi recognizes that there will be "painful compromises" with Assad and his Russian ally, but "if we have to choose between the compromises and the genocide of our people, we will certainly choose life for our people".

Yesterday Erdogan had announced the conquest of 109 sq km of Syrian territory, including 21 villages. Among these, the border town of Ras al-Ain. According to the official version, the Ankara operation intends to create a safe border strip across the border and allow the return of part of the 3.6 million Syrian refugees from Turkey, as well as thwarting the "threat" from the Kurdish Ypg militia (allies with the Pkk). In reality the Turkish president fears the birth of a Kurdish state along the border and is doing everything to prevent its realization, exploiting the pretext of terrorism.

Among the reasons that led the Syrian government (and the Russian ally) to forge an alliance with the Kurds is the growing danger of a return of the Islamic State, which is exploiting the fighting to free its men and rebuild a new military apparatus. Yesterday, Kurdish official sources announced the escape of about 800 relatives of "foreign fighters" from the self-styled "Caliphate", who had fled the Ain Issa camp in the north.

The Syrian Democratic Forces currently hold over 12 thousand suspects and ISIS militants in seven different prisons. Of these, at least 4 thousand come from abroad. In recent days the jihadists have already exploited the offensive to launch reorganization and launch new attacks, such as the one that led to the killing of the Kurdish activist Hevrin Khalaf, general secretary of the Syrian Future Party and one of the best known rights activists women in the region. The woman fought for coexistence and dialogue between Kurds, Christians and Arabs and was appreciated by all communities.

A commando linked to ISIS would have stopped the off-road vehicle on which Khalaf was travelling, along the M4 highway between Manbij and Qamishli. The militiamen forced the activist out of the vehicle and shot her dead with machine-gun.