Syria forces to enter Afrin amid deal with YPG: Kurdish official

Turkey on Saturday denied allegations that it had used poisonous gas during operations in the northwestern Afrin region of Syria, following accusations from a human rights group and local news outlets. Turkey considers YPG to be a terrorist organization.

The Erdogan government is angry over the USA military's support for the so-called People's Protection Units, a mainly Kurdish group known by the acronym YPG.

Turkey has also threatened to push toward the Syrian town of Manbij-under the control of the Kurdish-led forces-and warned United States troops stationed there not to get in the way.

In a photo distributed by the Turkish presidency before the start of the more than three-hour meeting, the two are shown shaking hands, although only Tillerson was smiling.

The latest development coincided Friday with a Syrian regime decision to allow Kurds demonstrate in Damascus against the Turkish military operation in northern Syria, carrying portraits of Abdullah Ocalan, imprisoned leader of the PKK.

The US and Turkey, whose forces are at loggerheads in northern Syria, have agreed to try to defuse the crisis.

Kurdish officials said they had informed the United States army about their contacts with Damascus, adding that "the Americans did not mind". He is due to meet the foreign minister, Mevlut Cavusoglu, on Friday. The Americans knew that their use of Kurdish forces might one day lead to a reckoning with Baghdad and Ankara, but felt they had little choice.

While both have at times suggested a long-term agreement between them might be possible, Assad says he wants to take back the whole country.

Turkey offered the United States together to place the military in Syria in exchange for withdrawal of the Kurds from the border with Turkey district.

Speaking with reporters on the sidelines of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation meeting in Brussels, Mattis said his talks with his Turkish counterpart were open and honest, but acknowledged the differences.

Turkey has said it could expand its assault to those areas and last week renewed its demands for the YPG to pull out of all parts of Syria west of the Euphrates. "We continue to collaborate on ways to ensure their legitimate concerns are addressed". A source familiar with the situation also told Sputnik that the deployment "of the Syrian Armed Forces at the Syrian-Turkish border in Afrin" is expected to occur in the next few days.