Russia has denied recent reports that it is willing to establish a military base in Afrin, northeast Syria, in alliance with the so-called People’s Protection Units (YPG), the Kurdish militia that controls the area. The Russian Defense Ministry said it had embedded servicemen with the YPG in northern Syria, but said the servicemen were there to monitor a ceasefire between the Kurdish forces and Turkey-backed opposition fighters, not to establish a base. The ministry said the units had been deployed from its Center for Reconciliation at its air base in Hmeimim in northwestern Syria. “There are no plans to establish new Russian bases on the territory of the Syrian Arab Republic,” Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement. Earlier on Sunday, the YPG said that Russia is setting up a military base in northwestern Syria in agreement with the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia. "The Russian presence ... comes in agreement between (the YPG) and the Russian forces operating in Syria in the framework of cooperation against terrorism and to help train our forces on modern warfare and to build a direct point of contact with Russian forces," YPG Spokesman Redur Khalil said in a written statement.