For Syria’s Kurds, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad “is the best of worst choices,” English teacher Hassan Hassan from northwestern Syria told CNN as he tries to make sense of the Turkey-Russia agreement.

Speaking with CNN on the phone, Hassan said “the devil is in the detail,” but says Kurds now hope Turkey will not invade predominantly Kurdish cities like Qamishli.

If Turkish-backed rebels with former ISIS fighters in their ranks roll in, people would flee their homes and become displaced, he said.

But Assad is an ally of the Kurdish YPG, “because he is the enemy of our enemies,” Hassan said.

Jawan Mirso, a media activist in al-Derbasiya, similarly told CNN that the population seems split in half in their feelings about the agreement. He said especially older people recently displaced by the Turkish military operation who now believe they can return to their homes and villages are relieved.

Younger people are more cautious, he said — especially those 18 and older who fear the Syrian regime will force them into military service.  

Some history: The Kurds are an Iranian ethnic minority with a population in Syria, whom the US has historically supported in the fight against ISIS. Bashar al-Assad has ruled Syria as president since July 2000 — but has been criticized for widespread violence against civilians and the use of chemical weapons against rebels in the ongoing Syrian civil war.



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