Erdogan and Russian President Vladimir Putin reached an agreement Tuesday that would transform the map of northeast Syria, installing their forces along the border and filling the void left by the abrupt withdrawal of American troops. The Kurdish fighters, who when relied on the U.S. forces as protection from Turkey, have been offered a deadline of subsequent Tuesday evening to pull back from border places they have not currently left.
Claiming good results, U.S. President Donald Trump mentioned the cease-fire involving Turkey and the Syrian Kurds will be permanent . He mentioned almost all U.S. troops will be leaving Syria but some will stay to safeguard oil fields now in Kurdish hands.
“We’ve saved the lives of lots of, lots of Kurds,” he mentioned, though Trump primarily opened the way for Turkey’s Oct. 9 invasion of northeastern Syria when he ordered U.S. troops to step aside.
Iraq, meanwhile, closed the door on the U.S. military’s try to preserve the troops leaving Syria on its soil. Iraqi Defense Minister Najah al-Shammari told The Linked Press that these troops have been only “transiting” Iraq and would leave inside 4 weeks, heading either to Kuwait, Qatar or the United States.
Al-Shammari spoke right after meeting with U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper, who earlier this week had mentioned the American forces from Syria would stay in Iraq to fight the Islamic State group. Iraq’s military promptly mentioned they did not have permission to do so.
The clumsy reversal underscored the blow to U.S. influence on the ground in the wake of Trump’s order for U.S. troops to leave Syria. These forces have been allied with the Kurdish-led fighters for 5 years in the extended and bloody campaign that brought down the Islamic State group in Syria.
Now, a considerable swath of the territory they captured is becoming handed more than to U.S. rivals , and the Kurds have been stung at becoming abandoned by their allies to face the Turkish invasion launched on Oct. 9.
The Kremlin pointedly referred to that abandonment as it told the Kurds to abide by the Russian-Turkish accord.
“The United States was the closest ally of the Kurds throughout the final couple of years, and in the finish the U.S. ditched the Kurds and properly betrayed them,” leaving them to fight the Turks, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov mentioned, according to Russian newswires.
“It’s very clear that if the Kurdish units do not withdraw with their weapons then Syrian border guards and Russian military police will have to step back. And the remaining Kurdish units will be steamrolled by the Turkish army,” he mentioned.
The Kurds have enjoyed self-rule in the northeast ever given that Syria’s central government had to pull its forces out of the location seven years ago to battle rebels elsewhere at the height of the country’s civil war. With the subsequent alliance with the U.S., the Kurdish fighters had hoped to give their autonomy ambitions additional weight.
Turkey considers the Kurdish fighters terrorists for the reason that of their hyperlinks to Kurdish insurgents in Turkey. It has demanded they retreat from the complete border area, generating a “safe zone” exactly where Turkey could also settle some of the three.six million Syrian refugees on its soil.
Ankara would get that purpose below the new accord with Moscow, along with the agreement final week with the U.S. that place a cease-fire in spot.
Kurdish forces completed withdrawing on Tuesday from a stretch of territory 120 kilometers (75 miles) wide along the border and 30 kilometers (19 miles) deep involving the towns of Ras al-Ayn and Tal Abyad. That pullback, permitting Turkish-backed forces to take more than, was essential below the U.S.-Turkish accord.
The new agreement with Russia permits Turkey to preserve sole handle more than that location.
On Wednesday, Turkish-backed Syrian fighters in Ras al-Ayn unfurled the flags of their forces and Turkey on the roof of a creating that had reportedly been the Kurdish fighters’ headquarters, according to footage aired on the Turkish channel NTV. The fighters and Turkish soldiers made use of heavy machinery to close tunnels constructed by the Kurds, Turkish media mentioned.
For the rest of the northeastern border, the deal calls for Russian and Syrian government forces to move in to guarantee the Kurdish fighters leave. Then right after the deadline runs out Tuesday, Turkish and Russian forces will jointly patrol a strip 10-kilometers (six miles) deep along the border.
The Russian Defense Ministry mentioned a convoy of military police had crossed the Euphrates River and deployed in the Syrian border town of Kobani.
“The military police will assist defend the population, retain order, patrol the designated places and help in the withdrawal of Kurdish units and their weapons 30 kilometers away from the border,” it mentioned.
The Turkish military mentioned it would not resume its offensive “at this stage” right after the U.S.-brokered cease-fire expired Tuesday evening. Nevertheless, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu mentioned that Turkish forces would “neutralize” any Syrian Kurdish fighters they come across in places that Turkey now controls.
President Erdogan mentioned the attack would commence once more if the Kurdish pullback does not take spot.
“Whether its our agreement with the United States or with Russia, if the promises offered are not carried out, there will be no adjust regarding the methods we need to have to take,” he told journalists, according to the newspaper Hurriyet.
Erdogan mentioned he had also asked Putin what would come about if the Syrian Kurdish fighters donned Syrian army uniforms and remained in the border location. Putin responded by saying that he would not let that come about, Erdogan mentioned.
Cavusoglu, Turkey’s foreign minister, mentioned the deal with Russia would continue till a lasting political resolution for Syria is reached. He also mentioned that Turkey agreed not to conduct joint patrols in the city of Qamishli at the eastern finish of the border, for the reason that of Russian issues they could lead to a confrontation involving Turkish troops and Syrian government forces in the location.
Fraser reported from Ankara. Vladimir Isachenkov in Moscow and Qassim Abdul-Zahra and Lolita C. Baldor in Baghdad contributed.
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