Erdogan, Putin hold talks as truce in Syria set to expire

Erdogan, Putin hold talks as truce in Syria set to expire

A senior Kurdish official, Redur Khalil, confirmed his forces had entirely pulled out of that zone as required under a USA -brokered cease-fire.

This was made clear after the meeting of Vladimir Putin and Recep Erdogan in Sochi.

Russian military forces crossed the Euphrates River in Syria and moved into positions near the border with Turkey to ensure Kurdish fighters pull back, the Russian Ministry of Defense said yesterday, after a deal between Moscow and Ankara wrested control of the Kurds' entire heartland.

"Big success on the Turkey/Syria Border".

"Ceasefire has held and combat missions have ended". "Kurds are safe and have worked very nicely with us".

The United States and Turkey have backed different antigovernment forces, while Turkey has backed differing rebel groups.

Ilham Ahmed, head of the SDF's political wing - speaking with The Defense Post on Monday as part of a tour through Washington to try to reverse Trump's pullout decision - said that if American troops can not defend the Kurds of northern Syria from Turkish attack, "They will have not any role in Syria".

"When the ceasefire agreement negotiated between the USA and Turkey came to an end, the commander of the SDF informed the U.S that all SDF forces had left the area".

Arriving in the southern countryside of Idlib, Assad strongly denounced Erdogan for the incursion into northern Syria, calling him "a thief". "And they did that", he said.

Trump warned that "crippling" sanctions could be reimposed if Turkey failed to honor its obligation to protect religious and ethnic minorities. The U.S. military said last weekend troops would be re-stationed in Iraq to monitor terrorist activity in Syria and added Monday that the shift had begun.

The Iraqi announcement seemed to contradict US Defense Secretary Mark Esper, who a day earlier said the forces leaving Syria would deploy in Iraq to fight the Islamic State group.

Meanwhile, Iraq also appears to be balking at an expanded USA military presence, as more American troops have left the country this week.

"We want other nations to get involved", Trump said.

After that, joint Russian-Turkish patrols will take place in northern Syria within 10km of the border.

It also calls for a U.N. Security Council resolution to set up a north Syria security zone under a United Nations mandate.

Russian Presidential Spokesman Dmitry Peskov commented on a statement by U.S. Special Representative for Syria Engagement James Jeffrey, in which he had voiced doubts that the Kurds would withdraw from the designated areas. "And remaining Kurdish formations would then fall under the weight of the Turkish army", he said.

A complete pullout of the YPG would mark a victory for Erdogan, who launched a cross-border offensive on October 9 to drive the Syrian Kurdish militia from the border and create a "safe zone" for the return of Syrian refugees.

Turkey's incursion into Syria has led to an global outcry, which has in turn enraged Erdogan, who has accused his North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies of not standing by Turkey. That pullback, allowing Turkish-backed forces to take over, was required under the US-Turkish accord.

Syrian and Russian forces have already entered two border cities, Manbij and Kobani, which lie within Turkey's planned " safe zone" but to the west of Turkey's military operations.

Turkey is holding covert contacts with the Syrian government, partly via Russian Federation, to avert direct conflict in north-east Syria, Turkish officials say. If Kurdish forces did not retreat, Syrian border guards and Russian military police would have to fall back.

But he said Turkish troops and their allies were continuing military operations in northeastern Syria outside that withdrawal zone.

Earlier he had said the fighting might resume if promises by Washington were not kept. "They suggested meeting in London but I said it wouldn't do and offered to host the event in Istanbul or somewhere closer to the Syrian border, like Gaziantep and Sanliurfa". Putin responded by saying that he would not let that happen, Erdogan said.

The new deal has seen Russian Federation agreeing to allow Turkish troops to remain in the area they have taken and retaining sole control.

Turkey and Russian Federation agreed on Tuesday to remove the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia to beyond 30 km from the Turkish border, after which their troops will jointly patrol a narrower strip of land in a "safe zone" that Ankara has long sought in northern Syria.

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