Russian & Syrian forces to deploy to northeastern Syria outside Turkey operation zone – Putin-Erdogan agreement
Russian military police and Syrian servicemen will be deployed to northeastern Syria, while Turkey’s operation ‘Peace Spring’ will continue in a limited area, presidents of the two countries have agreed after lengthy talks.
Moscow understands the reasons behind the ongoing Turkish military incursion into Syria, Putin said, though he stressed it must not play into the hands of terrorists and that the territorial integrity of Syria must be preserved. Ultimately, the country must be freed from all “illegal foreign military presence,” the President added, reiterating Moscow’s long-time position.
The almost-seven-hour-long talks in Sochi, Russia were focused on the situation in Syria, particularly the ongoing offensive in its northeastern region.
The agreement says the Kurdish-led militias – the prime target of the Turkish operation – must withdraw into Syrian territory beyond 30 km from the Turkish border. Erdogan’s operation, meanwhile, will continue in a limited area – between towns of Tell Abyad and Ras al-Ayn – up to 32 km inside Syrian territory.
Other parts of the Syrian border will be controlled by Syrian military and border guards, supported by Russian military police.
On October 9, the region was invaded by the Turkish military and affiliated militants from the so-called Syrian “opposition.” The operation targeted Kurdish-led militias, which Ankara considers to be “terrorists.” The assault, dubbed ‘Operation Peace Spring,’ kicked off just two days after US President Donald Trump announced the withdrawal of his country’s troops from the northeast of Syria.
Last week, the US and Turkey agreed a five-day ceasefire in the region, which expires at 10pm local time (19:00 GMT) on Tuesday. The pause in the operation was intended to allow the Kurdish-led militias to withdraw, facilitating the creation of a 20-mile “safe zone” within Syria that Turkey has sought to establish. Earlier in the day, Erdogan said he was ready to resume the operation if the US fails to keep its promises.
Moscow has repeatedly urged Turkey to show restraint in its activities in Syria, and warned it against doing anything that might hamper the political settlement process in the country.
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