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Syrian army secures border crossings in strategic city of Kobani

Photo of Syrian government forces installing the national flag at one of the Syria-Turkey border crossings in the city of Kobani (photo by SANA)

The Syrian government forces have entered the strategic Kurdish-populated city of Kobani in the face of an ongoing military offensive by Turkish soldiers and allied militants against Kurdish forces in the northern part of the war-battered Arab country.

The Syrian troops arrived in Kobani, officially Ayn al-Arab, on Wednesday as part of an agreement between the government of President Bashar al-Assad and the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces.

Based on the deal, army troops are deployed at the border to confront the Turkish military campaign against the Kurds.

Reports also suggest that Syrian troops have entered several new villages on the outskirts of the town of Tal Tamer in Hasakah province.

They earlier entered the city of Raqqah, the former de facto capital of the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group in Syria, for the first time in five years and installed some checkpoints there.

On Monday, Syrian government forces arrived in the towns of Tabqa, on the outskirts of Raqqah, and Ayn Isa, which served as the headquarters of the Kurdish-led autonomous administration in northeastern Syria and is located 32 kilometers (20 miles) from the Turkish border. 

The shift by Kurdish forces under Turkish fire came after President Donald Trump’s abrupt decision in recent days to withdraw US troops from northeastern Syria, leaving Kurdish forces that had allied with the US-led military coalition purportedly fighting the Daesh terror group vulnerable to Turkish offensive.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported on Wednesday that government troops and Kurdish militants were “fighting together” against Turkish-sponsored militants northeast of Ayn Issa.

On Thursday, Ankara agreed to a five-day ceasefire to allow for the withdrawal of Kurdish forces from northeastern Syria.

Over a dozen civilians have been killed in sporadic clashes in northeastern Syria despite Ankara's announcement of the ceasefire.

According to the so-called Observatory, 14 civilians lost their lives on Friday in Turkish airstrikes and mortar fires in and around the flashpoint border town of Ra’s al-Ayn.

On Friday, Syrian President al-Assad demanded a complete halt to Turkey's operation against Kurdish forces, and a full withdrawal of foreign forces illegally present in Syrian territories.

During a meeting with a Russian delegation headed by the Kremlin’s special envoy on Syria, Alexander Lavrentiev, in Damascus, Assad said efforts must be directed at ending Operation Peace Spring and the pullout of all illegal forces, including the Turkish and American soldiers, from Syrian territories since they are considered occupying forces under international conventions.

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