Kurdish female fighters of the Women's Protection Unit (YPJ) gesture in the Sheikh Maksoud neighbourhood of Aleppo, Syria February 7, 2018. REUTERS/Omar Sanadiki
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ALEPPO, Syria/ BEIRUT: Syria's U.S.-backed Kurds are getting indirect help from an unlikely source in their war against Turkey in the northwestern region of Afrin: President Bashar Assad. Pro-government forces and Kurdish-led forces have fought each other elsewhere in Syria and Damascus opposes the Kurds' demands for autonomy.Turkey, which regards the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) militia in Afrin as a threat on its southern border, launched an assault on the region last month.Lacking international protection, the Kurdish-led forces in northern Syria say they have reached agreements with Damascus to allow reinforcements to be sent to Afrin from other Kurdish-dominated areas – Kobani and the Jazeera region.The Afrin war marks another twist in the complicated story of relations between Assad and the Syrian Kurdish groups, spearheaded by the YPG, that have carved out autonomous regions in northern Syria since the war began in 2011 .The Syrian government has ignored appeals by the Kurdish authorities to guard the Syrian border at Afrin.
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