Kurdish-allied Syrian Arab militias are redeploying 1,700 fighters from frontlines with Islamic State to the Afrin region to help fend off a Turkish offensive against the northwestern region, their spokesperson told Reuters on Tuesday.

"We have taken out 1,700 fighters ... to defend Afrin against terrorism," said Abu Omar al-Edilbi, the spokesman for the militias that have been fighting Islamic State in eastern Syria as part of the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces.

Speaking to Reuters in Raqqa after announcing the redeployment, he said that 700 of the fighters had already moved to Afrin.