First Published: 2017-03-20

Syria Kurds to get training from Russian forces
YPG spokesman says agreement signed between Kurdish forces, Russian forces in Syria to 'train us in modern military tactics.'
Middle East Online

YPG makes up the bulk of US-backed alliance of Kurdish and Arab fighters

MOSCOW - Russia's military will train Kurdish forces in Syria, a spokesman said Monday, in the first agreement of its kind with the militia that controls large parts of the country's north.

The move by Russia, a longtime ally of President Bashar al-Assad's regime, is likely to anger Turkey, which considers the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) to be a "terrorist" group.

"An agreement was signed between our units and Russian forces operating in Syria that will train us in modern military tactics," YPG spokesman Redur Xelil said.

"This is the first agreement of its kind, although we have had previous cooperation (with the Russians) in Aleppo city," he said.

Russian forces were already present at the training camp in the Afrin region, one of the three "autonomous" cantons that Kurdish authorities manage in northern Syria, Xelil told AFP.

The deal, which Xelil said was part "of the framework of the fight against terrorism," was signed on Sunday and came into force on Monday.

The YPG makes up the bulk of the Syrian Democratic Forces, a US-backed alliance of Kurdish and Arab fighters that has seized swathes of territory from the Islamic State group in northern Syria.

The SDF receives equipment, weapons and air support from the US-led coalition, and is backed by several hundred Western special operations forces in an advisory role.

Russia, meanwhile, is a long-term backer of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, but had recently worked closely with rebel supporter Turkey to try to end the six-year war in Syria.

 

Iraqi Kurds may postpone referendum in return for concessions

Assad says no Syria ties for countries backing rebels

Rouhani says top priority is protecting nuclear deal from US

Iraqi-Arab Gulf rapprochement makes headway

In Egypt, Syrian refugees recreate Syria

In African tour, Sisi seeks to rebuild ties, address security and water concerns

Syria’s transition scenarios for future rounds of talks

Dubai real estate market sets the pace for renewed growth in the GCC

German-Turkish intellectual held at Ankara’s request

Jordan’s municipal elections marred by deaths, riots

Russia doubts IS claim of stabbing attack in northern city

Turkey slams 'arrogant' German reaction to Erdogan poll call

Police confirm Finland 'terror attack'

Spain hunts suspects as IS claims attack

Aid project helps Syria refugees feel at home in Jordan

Lebanese army launches anti-IS offensive on Syria border

UN demands access to Yemen ports

Low-cost attacks a new reality for Europeans

Forces of Libya's Haftar say commander wanted by ICC in detention

Yemen rebels urged to free political commentator

Iranian footballer breaks silence over ban for playing Israelis

Erdogan meddles in German politics

IS fighters almost encircled in Syrian desert

For Israel, White House ties trump neo-Nazis and antisemitism

Israel freezes implementation of settlement law

Saudi Arabia installing cranes at Yemen ports

13 dead, 100 injured in two Spanish seaside city attacks

Iran reform leader ends hunger strike

Van ploughs through pedestrians in Barcelona terror attack

13 killed in Barcelona van attack

Iraq acknowledges abuses in Mosul campaign

Netanyahu under fire for response to US neo-Nazism

Israel to free high-profile suspects in money laundering probe

Spanish police shut down jet-ski migrant smugglers

Syrian actress, activist Fadwa Suleiman dies in Paris

Israeli court extends detention for Islamic cleric over ‘incitement’

UAE to provide $15 million a month to Gaza

Sudan's Bashir 'satisfied' with Nile dam project

US-backed rebels say American presence in Syria to last ‘decades’

Tunisian clerics oppose equal inheritance rights for women

Israel strikes almost 100 Hezbollah arms convoys in 5 years

UN hopes for eighth round of Syria talks before year’s end

LONG READ: How Syria continues to evade chemical weapons justice

Civilians killed in US-led raids on Raqa

Qatari pilgrims begin flooding into Saudi by land