After agreeing to an alliance with Kurdish forces on Sunday, Syrian president Bashar al-Assad said Thursday that Syrian forces will help the Kurds repel Turkey’s invasion by “all legitimate means.” Assad’s comments come a day after Turkey accused Syria of a “dirty deal” with Kurdish forces.
Syria “will respond to [Turkey] and confront it, in all its forms, anywhere in Syria, using all legitimate means at our disposal,” Assad said during a press conference with Iraqi national-security adviser Faleh al-Fayad.
Although the Kurds and Assad’s regime have long been rivals, SDF commander Mazloum Abdi explained in an article published Sunday that — in the absence of American forces — the Kurds needed support in order to repel the Turks, which necessitated making “painful compromises” with the Syrian government.
“If we have to choose between compromises and the genocide of our people, we will surely choose life for our people,” Abdi wrote.
Thursday marks the ninth day of Turkey’s incursion into Northern Syria, which has resulted in the deaths of dozens of civilians and over 300,000 new refugees.
Turkey began negotiations with the United States over a prospective ceasefire Thursday, as Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan met with Vice President Mike Pence for over two and half hours behind closed doors before delegation talks began. White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow told CNBC in an interview Thursday that the U.S. may levy additional sanctions on Turkey to keep the Erdogan regime “in line.”