Locals welcome Syrian regime forces as they arrive at the western entrance of the town of Tal Tamr in the countryside of Syria's northeastern Hasakeh province on Monday. Photo: Delil Souleiman/AFP via Getty Images

Syria's President Bashar al-Assad deployed troops near the border with Turkey to stave off the Turkish offensive on Monday, state media reports — hours after the primarily Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces struck a deal with his regime.

Why it matters: The move raises concerns of a potential battle between Turkey and Syria. The Kurdish fighters, who were allied with the U.S. in the fight against the Islamic State, entered the previously unthinkable alliance with Assad after President Trump decided to withdraw U.S. troops from northeastern Syria ahead of the military action announced by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

  • There has been a strong bipartisan backlash against Trump's decision, with many accusing the president of abandoning a key ally. Assad is backed by Russia and Iran.

What's happening: The Syrian state-run SANA news agency posted images to its website in a report stating that Syrian army units had entered the predominantly Assyrian Christian town of Tal Tamr, about 12 miles from the Turkish border, in Hasaka "to face Turkish aggression." The area had been under Kurdish control for 7 years.

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