Deal to support Kurds in exchange for key cities set to open new front in civil war

Syrian troops have begun sweeping into Kurdish-held territory on a collision course with Turkish forces and their allies, a day after the beleaguered Kurds agreed to hand over key cities to Damascus in exchange for protection.

The deal, which Kurdish leaders emphasised they had made reluctantly after five days of relentless bombardment by Turkish artillery and jets, threatens to open a new front in Syria’s nearly nine-year civil war, and signals the likely end of US and European military deployments in the country’s north-east.

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