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Kurdish commander says Trump 'approved deal' with Russia, Damascus Open in fullscreen

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Kurdish commander says Trump 'approved deal' with Russia, Damascus

Smoke rises from the Syrian town of Ras al-Ain. [Getty]

Date of publication: 17 October, 2019

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The deal struck by Kurdish groups came on Sunday after Trump had ordered US troops to withdraw as Turkey launched its attack last week.

A Kurdish commander said on Thursday that US President Donald Trump essentially gave a green light for a deal struck between Kurdish forces, Russia and the Syrian regime to protect against a Turkish offensive in north-eastern Syria.

"We told (Trump) that we are contacting the Syrian regime and the Russians in order to protect our country and land," Abdi, better known by his nom de guerre Mazloum Kobani, told a local TV station, Ronahi TV.

"He said, 'We are not against that. We support that.'"

The deal struck by Kurdish groups came on Sunday after Trump had ordered US troops to withdraw as Turkey launched its attack last week.

Under the agreement, forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad effectively replaced the US troops on the ground in border areas, with Moscow guaranteeing the deal.

Syria's Kurdish fighters have allied with the US since 2014 to fight Islamic State militants. Abdi said the priority now is to stop Turkey's invasion.

Read more: Turkey assault in Syria has seen 300,000 displaced

Kurdish forces have frozen their activities to counter IS, Abdi said.

IS militants have attacked prisons where fellow members are jailed and freed family members from holding camps, he added.

Abdi said his forces will decide what to do with detained IS prisoners and their families.

"The matter is in our hands. We captured them. We are holding them, and we will decide what to do with them. No one else," he told the channel.

Syrian regime troops entered Kobane, also known as Ain Al-Arab, on Wednesday night, as a Turkish-led force were poised to take the strategically-important border town and American troops left the area.

Kobane, located in northern Syria, has been held by the Kurdish-dominated People's Protection Units (YPG) militia since 2012 and then moved on to defeat IS in Syria from 2015.

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