NOVOSIBIRSK, October 19. /TASS/. Moscow cannot understand the strategy and objective of Washington’s presence in the conflict area in the Middle East, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Russia’s NTV channel on Saturday.
"In general, we cannot grasp the strategy and purpose of Washington’s presence in the conflict zone [in Syria]. Like in Afghanistan, they either pull in or pull out [forces], either stay or drag on, and then again pull out. That is how things stand with the international coalition’s so-called solution to the Syria conflict," she said.
The Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson underscored that within the coalition "there has been no unanimity on the issue."
On October 9, Ankara launched its Peace Spring military operation in northern Syria. The operation is geared to establish a buffer zone in Syria’s northern regions, along the Turkish border, where Syrian refugees could return from Turkey. Syria’s SANA news agency slammed Ankara’s operation as an act of aggression. The world community has condemned Ankara’s actions.
On October 13, US Defense Secretary Mark Esper announced that the US was withdrawing about 1,000 US troops from northern Syria because of Turkey’s operation.
On October 17, the United States and Turkey reached an agreement to suspend combat operation. Turkey agreed to cease fire for a span of 120 hours to give Kurdish units of the Syrian Democratic Forces time to leave the area of the border security zone Ankara is seeking to create.