ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Tuesday said it was possible to resolve the crisis in the Afrin region of Syrian Kurdistan through direct dialogue between Damascus and Ankara amid news of the arrival of pro-Syrian government forces to the border.
The Russian official urged both Turkey and Syria to resolve the conflict, which began a month ago to date, “through direct dialogue,” the Interfax news agency quoted Lavrov.
Earlier in the day, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said his army would “begin besieging the town [of Afrin] in coming days,” as part of its ongoing operation against the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG).
Meanwhile, Kurdistan 24 correspondent Akram Salih, who has been covering developments in the Kurdish region, said pro-Syrian government forces had arrived in Afrin to address the Turkish aggression.
A spokesperson for the YPG added that Syrian troops had “responded to a call” from the Kurdish forces “to be stationed on the border and to participate in defense of the Syrian border.”
The first group of pro-government forces had arrived in Afrin from the towns of Nabel and Zahra, local Syrian media reported.
Turkey began its military incursion into Afrin on Jan. 20, claiming it is targeting the YPG which it alleges is an offshoot of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
The ongoing bombardment and shelling have devastated numerous villages and towns in the Kurdish-held enclave on the Turkish border, with civilians bearing the brunt of the Turkish assault.
The violence has left hundreds of civilians dead or injured, and thousands more displaced.