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.

 

Trump, Macron call for 'new' nuclear deal with Iran

Saudi Arabia claims killing of Yemen rebel leader

EU to Russia, Iran: Bring Syria to peace talks

Iraq's Shiites split ahead of crucial vote

Iraq’s ex-football stars from sports to politics

'Gap in perceptions' threatens wider Middle East war

UNESCO picks Morocco for project on prevention of violent extremism

Syrian regime retakes region near Damascus from rebels

Mogherini: Iran deal 'needs to be preserved'

Syria rebels prepare as Assad sets sights on next target

Iran's Rouhani questions 'right' to seek new nuclear deal

Syria's Idlib 'big new challenge' for international community

UNRWA chief says Palestinian aid $200 million short since Trump cuts

Bad memories resurface at Raqa’s mass grave

Turkey newspaper chief slams journalist terror trial

Setback for Yemen rebels after strike takes out leader

Saudi issues Islamic sukuk sale to finance deficit

Yarmuk, an epicentre of Syria's bloody conflict

Egypt’s Eurobond succeeds but risks remain

Egypt former anti-corruption chief gets five years jail

Philippines apologises to Kuwait over 'maid rescues'

Iran urges EU not to pay Trump ‘ransom’ over nuclear deal

UAE to finance project to rebuild Mosul's Grand al-Nuri Mosque

EU, UN begin major conference for Syria aid

New tensions rise between old rivals Turkey and Greece

Rouhani warns Trump against betraying nuclear deal

10 killed in Toronto “deliberate” van attack

Nine people killed in Toronto van attack

Yemen Huthi political leader killed in coalition raid

Syria security chief refuses Lebanon court appearance

Air raid kills dozens at Yemen wedding

Algeria draws Europe’s ire by cutting imports, boosting trade with China

Russia says no decision yet on delivery of S-300 missiles to Syria

French MPs adopt controversial immigration bill

Qatar Airways ‘robust’ despite large losses

IS threatens to attack Iraqi polling station

Jordan sounds the alarm over rising online crimes

Yemen forces clash with jihadists in Taez

Paris attacks suspect gets 20 years over Brussels shootout

Jailed Egyptian photographer wins UN press freedom prize

14 Saddam-era officials still jailed in Iraq

Gaza death toll rises to 40 as Palestinian dies of wounds

HRW says African migrants face rape, torture in Yemen

Four British pilgrims killed in Saudi road crash

HRW warns Egypt fight against IS threatens humanitarian crisis