SOCHI, October 22. /TASS/. Turkey and Russia will carry out joint patrolling in northern Syria, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Tuesday on the outcomes of the talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Sochi.
"Within 150 hours, [Kurdish formations] the People’s Protection Units must leave the 30-kilometer zone. The countdown will begin tomorrow at 12:00 [local time, same as Moscow time — TASS]. After the 150 hours run out, Turkey and Russia will begin joint patrolling of the area to the east and to the west of the Peace Spring operation zone," Erdogan said.
According to him, joint patrolling will be carried out on the Syrian territories 10 kilometers away from the Turkish border.
Comments by Russia's top brass
The new Russian-Turkish agreements on patrolling Syrian territories require additional equipment and forces, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu commented.
"As for additional troops, we naturally believe <…> that additional equipment will be needed for patrolling since the border is rather extensive and the patrolling should be serious and substantial so that we could avert any serious incidents. Especially since the patrolling will be carried out jointly," the minister said.
Kurdish units to leave Syrian towns of Tal Rifat, Manbij
Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) fighters will be removed from the Syrian towns of Manbij and Tal Rifat in northern Syria, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan stated.
"The YPG terrorists will leave Tal Rifat and Manbij. They will leave the 30-km zone around our border," Erdogan stressed.
Moreover, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu announced that the joint patrolling of Syria’s northern territories by Turkish and Russian military would not apply to the town of Qamishli.
Talks between Russian and Turkish leaders in Sochi
The talks between Putin and Erdogan lasted for over six hours. The Anadolu Agency lauded the agreement between Ankara and Moscow as historic.
The leaders discussed Operation Peace Spring, launched by Turkey on October 9. The Erdogan government claimed that its goal is to clear the border area of what it calls ‘terrorists’ (Turkey’s broad label of the Kurdish forces) and establish a 30 km-long buffer zone in Syria’s north, where over 3 million Syrian refugees in Turkey would resettle. Ankara’s incursion into Syria has triggered an outcry in the region and across the world.
On October 17, the United States, represented by Vice President Mike Pence, reached a deal with Erdogan to pause Operation Peace Spring. Turkey consented to a 120-hour ceasefire so that Kurdish units making up the coalition of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) could leave the areas of the border security zone that Ankara is attempting to create. The ceasefire runs out at 22:00 Moscow time on Tuesday.
Turkey's offensive in Syria
On October 9, Turkey launched a military incursion into northern Syria, codenaming it Operation Peace Spring, with the Turkish Armed Forces and the Ankara-backed Free Syrian Army carrying it out. Erdogan’s military campaign kicked off with airstrikes on the positions of the previously US-backed Kurdish units. The Erdogan government claimed that its goal is to clear the border area of what it calls ‘terrorists’ (Turkey’s broad label of the Kurdish forces) and establish a 30 km-long buffer zone in Syria’s north, where over 3 million Syrian refugees in Turkey would resettle. Ankara’s incursion into Syria has triggered an outcry in the region and across the world. The Syrian SANA news agency branded the operation as an act of aggression, while the international community condemned Erdogan’s military operation.
At the same time, the US and Turkey reached a ceasefire agreement on October 17. Turkey agreed to suspend fire for 120 hours so that Kurdish units making up the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) coalition could leave the safe zone created by Ankara. The agreement reached by the US and Turkey expires on Tuesday 22:00 (Moscow time).