On February 18, an unnamed source confirmed to the Kurdish ANF News outlet that the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) and the Damascus government had agreed on deploying units of the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) in specific locations in the Afrin area as a first stage of the alleged deal between the sides. However, the sources said that the agreement didn’t including any political or administrative issues related to Afrin.
The ANF News also revealed that the negotiations between the YPG and the Damascus government had faced several setbacks in the beginning due to what the source called “an interference” of some international powers including Russia.
During the negotiations, which were held in the city of Aleppo, according to ANF’s source, the YPG and the Damascus government also discussed the possibility of launching a joint military operation against the Turkish Army and the Turkish-backed Free Syrian Army (FSA) groups in the cities of al-Bab and Jarablus east of the Afrin area.
The media outlet also claimed that Syrian Air Defense Forces (SADF) will establish a no-fly zone over the Afrin area as a part of the alleged agreement. An “expert” told ANF that such a strategic move will strip the Turkish Army from 80% of its firepower.
In a related development, Hassan Hassan a Syrian pro-opposition journalist said on Twitter that the Turkish Army will announce the end of its military operation in the Afrin area once the YPG-Damascus government agreement is officially confirmed.
#Source: Turkey will announce the end of Operation Olive Branch once a deal between the regime and the YPG is in place.
— Hassan Hassan حَسَنْ (@hxhassan) February 18, 2018
On February 18, Sheikho Bilo, an official of the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD), told Rudaw TV [based in Iraqi Kurdistan] that the SAA will enter Afrin area within the next 24hours. If true, this could mean that the crisis in Afrin is witnessing its final hours.