Russia strikes deal with Syrian Kurds to set up base - Syrian Kurdish militia

 Reuters International

FILE PICTURE: A member of the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) carries his weapon as he sits at a checkpoint near the city of Ras al-Ain November 5, 2013. REUTERS/Stringer


BEIRUT (Reuters) - Russia is setting up a military base in northwestern Syria in an agreement with the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia that controls the area and will be training YPG fighters as part of the fight against terrorism, the militia's spokesman said on Monday.

YPG spokesman Redur Xelil told Reuters the agreement with Russia was concluded on Sunday, and that Russian troops had already arrived at the position in the northwestern province of Afrin with troop carriers and armoured vehicles.

"The Russian presence ... comes in agreement between (the YPG) and the Russian forces operating in Syria in the framework of cooperation against terrorism and to help train our forces on modern warfare and to build a direct point of contact with Russian forces," Xelil said in a written statement.

(Writing by Tom Perry; Editing by Samia Nakhoul and Gareth Jones)


 Reuters International