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People's Daily Online

Syrian army enters key Kurdish-held town in northern Syria amid Turkish assault

People's Daily Online

(Xinhua) 07:36, October 17, 2019

DAMASCUS, Oct. 16 (Xinhua) -- The Syrian army on Wednesday entered the symbolically important Kurdish-held town of Ayn al-Arab in northern Syria near Turkey, state news agency SANA reported.

The army units entered Ayn al-Arab, also known as Kobane, in the remote northeastern countryside of Aleppo province in northern Syria "amid the welcome of the residents there," said SANA.

Meanwhile, the London-based war monitor Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the army entered Ayn al-Arab with Russian military units.

The entry comes as part of an agreement reached recently between the Kurdish forces and the Syrian army about handing over Kurdish-controlled areas to the Syrian army to counter the ongoing Turkish assault against Kurdish-controlled areas in northern Syria.

With symbolic significance, Ayn al-Arab was one of the first areas to witness the defeat of the Islamic State (IS) militants by the hands of the U.S.-backed Kurdish forces in 2015.

The Syrian army has so far deployed in the key city of Manbij in northeastern Aleppo near Turkey, as well as in the town of Tall Tamr in Hasakah Province in northeastern Syria and near the Ayn Issa town in the northern countryside of Raqqa Province.

On Oct. 9, Turkey and its allied Syrian rebel groups started an assault to eliminate Kurdish forces in northern Syria, in order to end what Turkey perceives as the threat of "terrorist and separatist" groups on its southern border and to impose a safe zone for millions of Syrian refugees hosted by Turkey.

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