Russian & Syrian forces to deploy to northeastern Syria outside Turkey operation zone – Putin-Erdogan agreement
… from Russia Today, Moscow
[ Editor’s Note: From just this news, it looks like a workable deal. Everybody was flexible and got the main things they wanted. Erdogan will have a safe border, with Russian and SAA patrols in some areas, and Turkish and Russan MPs (not military) in the central area, but only to a 10km depth.
Kurds are alleged to have agreed to pull back – a small price to pay for avoiding a war, where they can focus on getting back to a normal life and clearing out the last ISIS remnants.
Not mentioned is whether the Arabs inside the border area who still have a house to live in will remain, as the Kurds are only 30% of the population. The civilians are big winners, as they will not have the Turkish thug militias exploiting the crap out of them, and the SAA can keep the Kurdish militias in line from doing the same.
The big winner, not mentioned, is Syria. Once it knows that it does not have to put half of its army into north Syria to fight Turkey, it can proceed at full speed with its Latakia and Idlib offensive to clear as much territory before winter.
Assad has stuck his flag in the ground of clearing Idlib of jihadis, and it is the last big battle to ending the war. Erdogan might find himself on the receiving end of a “safety zone” demanded inside Turkey to prevent jihadi thugs continuing a guerrilla war.
A major Idlib campaign is going to push a lot of angry jihadis and families as refugees back into Turkey, where Erdogan will have his hands full with them with his high unemployment rate and bad economy. He may get to find out what a real terrorist problem is like… Jim W. Dean ]
…from Russia Today, Moscow
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. The withdrawal is expected to be completed within 150 hours, starting Wednesday, October 23 in the afternoon. After the pullout, the area will be jointly patrolled by the Turkish military and Russian military police up to 10 km deep into Syrian territory.
Both Turkey and Russia reiterated the importance of the 1998 Adana accord, a security pact between Syria and Turkey. Among other things it allows the Turkish military to carry out cross-border operations in Syria, while Damascus promised not to harbor members of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which Ankara considers a terrorist organization.
While diplomatic relations between the two were significantly damaged during the years of the Syrian conflict, the pact was never denounced, and now Moscow has pledged to support its implementation in the “modern reality.”
The PKK has been waging a low-intensity insurgency in Turkey for decades, ultimately seeking the creation of an independent Kurdish state. Ankara has accused the Kurdish-led militias across the border in Syria of having strong ties to the PKK.
Indeed, PKK flags and insignia have been repeatedly seen displayed by Kurdish forces in Syria, though the extent of the ties between the groups is not known.
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.