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-Saudi ties helps pave way for new Saudi crown prince

Iraq PM says IS admitting defeat in Mosul

US increases its role in Syria's civil war

Turkish President accused of influencing courts

Red Sea coral reefs take the heat of climate change

Makeshift clinic saves lives near Syria’s Raqa

Egyptian fuel helps restart Gaza power station

Rights groups say Morocco protest leader 'severely beaten' during arrest

5 killed in Mogadishu car bomb attack

UN experts urge Egypt to halt executions after 'flawed trials'

Qatar emir congratulates newly-appointed Saudi crown prince

Kushner hails 'productive' Palestine-Israel talks

Macron says removing Assad no longer priority in Syria

Turkey sends first aid ship to isolated ally Qatar

Egypt delivers fuel to ease Gaza electricity shortage

Saudi Arabia named after ruling dynasty

Turkey detains catering boss after army food poisoning

Israel says will unleash 'unimaginable power' in future Lebanon war

Brussels nail bomber identified as Moroccan

Saudi stock market bullish on new heir

Lebanon's Salame to be new UN Libya envoy

New Saudi heir is king's agent of change

Mohammed bin Salman named Saudi crown prince

Algeria leader drops Panama Papers libel suit vs Le Monde

Morocco detains three as Rif protests continue

Israel starts work on new settlements amid Trump 'peace' push

At least 10 dead in Mogadishu suicide attack

Iraq forces advance in Mosul Old City

Yemen cholera death toll passes 1,100

Iran-made drone shot down by US plane in Syria

Raqa’s own battle to liberate hometown from IS rule

Saudi, Iraq hail 'qualitative leap' in relations

French journalist killed in Mosul

Iran protests against Tillerson 'transition' comments

Saudi foils ‘terrorist act’ in territorial waters

Ex-Barclays CEO charged with fraud over Qatar funding

London mosque terror attack suspect named in media

Iran avenges Tehran attack by targeting jihadists in Syria

Israel begins reducing power supplies to Gaza

Emirati minister warns Qatar isolation could ‘last years’

Russia freezes US military hotline after downing of Syrian plane

Turkish troops arrive in Qatar for joint training

Saudi seizes weapons from captured boat in oil field

Iraq authorities tell IS to 'surrender or die' in Mosul

UN says record 65.6 million people displaced worldwide