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Syrian Christian gunmen deploy against Turkey-backed advance

A Kurdish-led force says Christian fighters will now oversee security in a northern Syrian region that has witnessed fighting between Turkey-backed fighters and Kurdish-led militiamen.

The Syrian Democratic Forces said Saturday that the deployment will take place in villages close to the town of Tal Tamr in the Khabur river region. That area is home to Syria's dwindling Christian Syriac and Assyrian communities.

Turkish-backed fighters have been advancing in the area since last month, leading to the displacement of about 200,000 people.

Turkish and Russian patrol is seen near the town of Darbasiyah, Syria, Friday, Nov. 1, 2019. Turkey and Russia launched joint patrols Friday in northeastern Syria, under a deal that halted a Turkish offensive against Syrian Kurdish fighters who were forced to withdraw from the border area following Ankara's incursion.(AP PhotoBaderkhan Ahmad)

There have been concerns in Christian villages about possible atrocities by Turkey-backed fighters, which include former jihadists.

The SDF said it's deploying the Syriac Military Council and Assyrian fighters in the Khabur river region. Both groups are part of the SDF.