Damascus on Thursday said Syrians are unified against a cross-border Turkish assault, in its first statement since deploying troops in Kurdish-controlled areas to contain Ankara’s offensive.
“The Syrian government renews its absolute rejection and strong condemnation of Turkey’s blatant aggression,” said a Foreign Ministry statement carried by state news agency SANA.
It “affirms the cohesion among Syrians, all Syrians, and their unity, more than ever, under Syria’s national flag.”
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said his forces will counter Turkey’s invasion by “all legitimate means”, in his first remarks since deploying troops near the border to support Ankara’s Kurdish rivals.
We “will respond to it and confront it, in all its forms, anywhere in Syria, using all legitimate means at our disposal,” Mr. Assad said.
Nine days since Turkey launched an offensive against Kurdish groups in northern Syria, dozens of civilians have been killed and 300,000 have been displaced, according to Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
Damascus on Sunday clinched a deal with Kurdish forces that saw troops deploying in parts of the Kurdish-run northeast, including the key areas of Manbij and Kobane.
The deployment is the most significant by the Army since it began a large-scale pullout from the region in 2012.
It came after the U.S. pulled out from Syria’s northern region last week, exposing its Kurdish partners to a Turkish assault.
Marginalised for decades, Syria’s minority Kurds carved out a de facto autonomous region across some 30% of the nation’s territory after the devastating war broke out in 2011. Damascus rejects their self-rule and wants its institutions restored in Kurdish-held areas.