Russians enter Syrian border towns after deal struck with Turkey

Telegraph 2 weeks ago

Russian police and Syrian troops began deploying along the Turkish border on Wednesday, after striking a deal with Turkey to stave off a large offensive on Kurdish-held Syria.

Humvees bearing Russian flags were filmed driving into Kobane - a town considered by the Kurds to be the heart of their territory, marking the first pro-regime presence in the area in more than seven years.

The deal, which was struck between President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey and Russian President Vladimir Putin, gave Kurdish fighters with the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) until Tuesday evening to withdraw 18 miles back along a 270-mile stretch of the border.

Turkey’s defense ministry said on Wednesday that the withdrawal from its so-called “safe zone” would mean that there was “no further need to conduct a new operation,” which would prevent a feared humanitarian crisis.

Mevlut Cavusoglu, the Turkish foreign minister, said Moscow and Ankara would “work together” to arrange the resettlement of a million Syrian refugees into the buffer zone, but admitted that “in order to feel safe” the returnees would need reassurances from President Bashar al-Assad.

However, the deal was scant on detail and there was no immediate comment from the SDF.

What it did reveal was Russia’s position as powerbroker in Syria.

The order made by President Donald Trump for US troops to leave Syria marked a blow to American influence on the ground. Those forces were allied with the Kurdish-led fighters for five years in the long and bloody campaign that brought down Isil.

"The United States has been the Kurds' closest ally in recent years. (But) in the end, it abandoned the Kurds and, in essence, betrayed them," Dmitri Peskov, a Kremlin spokesman, said pointedly on Wednesday. "Now they prefer to leave the Kurds at the border and almost force them to fight the Turks."

Or as Mr Cavousoglu put it: “When you are present on the ground, then you are also present on the negotiating table."

Russian President Vladimir Putin receives Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Sochi
Russian President Vladimir Putin receives Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Sochi

The US, which was not present at Tuesday’s talks in Mr Putin’s dacha in the Black Sea resort of Sochi, has been shut out of decision-making and left with little leverage to demand assurances for its former Kurdish partners.

Mark Esper, US secretary of defence, was in Baghdad on Wednesday meeting with Iraqi prime minister Adel Abdul Mahdi to manage the fallout of their quick retreat.

The US withdrew the bulk of its some 1,000 troops from Syria on Monday, greeted on the way out by Kurdish residents throwing rotten fruit and holding up signs reading “we will not forget this betrayal”.

The Pentagon had announced the troops were expected to move to western Iraq to continue the campaign against Islamic State and "to help defend Iraq".

But it appeared the move was not first approved by Baghdad, which issued a statement saying they did not have the right to remain in the country.

Mr Esper was told he had 30 days to remove the troops.


Source link
Read also:
Reuters › 1 month ago
Turkish jets struck military positions and civilians in the Syrian border towns of Tel Abyad and Ras al-Ain, as well as near the cities of Qamishli and Ain Issa in northeast Syria, the Kurdish-led force that controls the region said.
The New York Times › 1 month ago
Turkish jets struck military positions and civilians in the Syrian border towns of Tel Abyad and Ras al-Ain, as well as near the cities of Qamishli and Ain Issa in northeast Syria, the Kurdish-led force that controls the region said.
Axios › 0 month ago
The primarily-Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which allied with the U.S. in the fight against ISIS, has struck a deal with the Syrian government to help protect the northeastern Syrian border against a military offensive by Turkey, the...
One America News Network › 3 weeks ago
By Tuvan Gumrukcu ANKARA (Reuters) - Turkey and Russia will discuss the removal of the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia from the northern Syrian towns of Manbij and Kobani during talks in Sochi next week,
One America News Network › 1 month ago
By Daren Butler ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Turkish forces targeted areas around two Syrian border towns with fresh shelling on Sunday, pressing on with their offensive against Kurdish militia for a fifth
The New York Times › 1 month ago
Turkey-backed Syrian rebels said on Saturday they had cut a road connecting Syrian towns along a section of the border where the Turkish army is waging an offensive targeting Kurdish-led forces.
Washington Post › 0 month ago
Syrian state media reported that forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad took up positions in several key towns across the country’s northeast.
The Week › 0 month ago
Moving up from the south, Syrian government troops seized several towns in the northeastern part of the country on Monday, one day after reaching an agreement with the Kurdish-led militia that has held control of the area for several years. The deal...
The Sydney Morning Herald › 2 weeks ago
The deal transform the map of northeast Syria, leaving Turkey in sole control over one section in the middle of the border, while Turkey, Russia and the Syrian government will have hands in the rest.
Chicago Tribune › 3 weeks ago
CAIRO/ISTANBUL Syrian Kurdish fighters on Sunday withdrew from an embattled Syrian town on the border with Turkey under a temporary ceasefire deal brokered by
Sign In

Sign in to follow sources and tags you love, and get personalized stories.

Continue with Google
OR