Turkey got the safe zone in northern Syria, a respective deal agreed on Tuesday which both Moscow and Ankara hailed as a triumph, Reuters reported.
The Syrian and Russian forces will deploy in northeast Syria to remove Kurdish YPG militia and their weapons from the border with Turkey. The meeting between Putin and Erdogan in Sochi on Tuesday was resulted in creating the safe zone Turkey wanted all the time.
Hours after the deal was announced, the Turkish ministry of defence said that Washington had told Ankara the withdrawal of YPG was complete from the “safe zone” Ankara demands in northern Syria.
On Tuesday, the US vice-president Mike Pence received a letter from Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) commander Mazloum Kobani saying their forces had withdrawn “from the relevant area of operations” under that agreement.
According to the Turkish defence minister, there was no need to initiate another operation outside the current area of operation at this stage, effectively ending its military offensive that had begun on Oct. 9, drawing international criticism and doubting the NATO’s ability to fulfil its obligations.
The outcome of the Putin-Erdogan meeting in Sochi today indicates that Erdogan has become a master of leveraging the U.S. and Russia against each other to maximize Ankara’s gains.
The Russian-Turkish agreement creates a ‘safe zone’ on the Turkish border with Siria
The pact between the Russian President and his Turkish counterpart includes the para, under which Ankara will control a 32km-wide area between the towns of Tal Abyad and Ras al-Ain, which covers 120km of the Turkish-Syrian border on Wednesday.
The agreement follows a U.S.-brokered truce which expired on Tuesday and underlines the dizzying changes in Syria since Mr Trump announced the withdrawal of American troops two weeks ago ahead of Turkey’s cross-border offensive against the Kurds.
The Russia-Turkey agreement struck in the Black Sea resort of Sochi endorses the return of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s forces to the border alongside Russian troops, replacing the Americans who had patrolled the region for years with their former Kurdish allies.
Six days later, Russian and Turkish forces will jointly start to patrol a narrower, 10 km strip of land in the “safe zone” that Ankara has long sought in northeast Syria.
Mike Pence backed for the establishment of the safe zone.
“We may well give the international community an opportunity to establish a safe zone between Turkey and the Kurdish population in Syria that will ensure peace and security,” Pence hailed the deal.
Tuesday’s agreement also reiterated Russia and Turkey’s commitment to the Astana process, which also includes Iran, another major backer of Bashar al-Assad.