Kurds Strike Last-Minute Deal to Avoid 'Genocide'

Syria agrees to protect Kurds from invading Turkish forces
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 13, 2019 5:30 PM CDT
Updated Oct 14, 2019 12:33 AM CDT
Kurds Strike Last-Minute Deal to Avoid 'Genocide'
FILE -- In this Nov. 7, 2016 file photo, Kurdish Peshmerga fighters and commanders overlook Islamic State group positions during heavy fighting in Bashiqa, east of Mosul, Iraq. Over the past century, Kurds in the Mideast have gotten close to setting up their own state or autonomous regions on several...   (AP Photo/Felipe Dana, File)

(Newser) – This might be a last-minute, desperation deal—but now Syrian Kurds have some protection. They said Sunday the Syrian government has agreed to send army forces to the nation's northern border to try to curb Turkey's assault, the BBC reports. Russia brokered the deal over three days between the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces and President Bashar al-Assad's government, a Kurdish intelligence official tells the Washington Post. What the Kurds gave up in return is unclear, but Mazloum Abdi, leader of the SDF, described it as a necessity.

"We know that we would have to make painful compromises with Moscow and Bashar al-Assad if we go down the road of working with them," he writes in Foreign Policy. "But if we have to choose between compromises and the genocide of our people, we will surely choose life for our people." Abdi expressed appreciation of America's "generous support," but said "Turkey would never attack us so long as the US government was true to its word with us. We are now standing with our chests bare to face the Turkish knives." Indeed, Turkey attacked as President Trump ordered most or all US troops in the area to pull out. (Meanwhile, hundreds of ISIS supporters escaped a Syrian holding camp Sunday amid heavy fighting.)

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