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Ankara agrees to withdraw forces from northern Syria — newspaper after Moscow talks

According to the source, Ankara also reiterated its commitment to Syria’s sovereignty and territorial integrity

BEIRUT, December 30. /TASS/. After the talks between Russian, Syrian and Turkish defense ministers in Moscow, Ankara has agreed to withdraw its troops from northern Syria, the Al-Watan newspaper reported on Friday, citing its sources.

According to the source, the talks yielded "Turkey’s consent to withdraw its forces from the occupied areas in the north [of Syria]." Apart from that, Ankara reiterated its commitment to Syria’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Apart from that, the source said that the participants in the meeting agreed that Kurdish units linked with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party are "US and Israel’s agents and pose the biggest threat to Syria and Turkey." The sides also discussed the implementation of the agreement on the opening of the M4 strategic highway, which links Syria’s western and eastern regions.

The Russian defense ministry said on Wednesday that the Russian, Syrian and Turkish defense ministers had met in the Russian capital city to discuss ways of settling the Syrian crisis, the problem of refugees and joint efforts to combat extremist groups in Syria. After the talks, the sides noted their constructive character and agreed that this dialogue should be continued in the interests of the further stabilization of the situation in Syria and in the entire region. The Syrian defense ministry described the meeting as positive.

Since 2017, Syria has held three military operations in Syria: Euphrates Shield, Olive Branch, and Peace Spring. As a result, a buffer security zone between the cities of Azaz and Jerablus north of Aleppo has been established, Afrin has been occupied and border areas east of the Euphrates were taken under control. On June 3, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that the Turkish army would stage another cross-border operation in northern Syria, on the territories on the Euphrates western and eastern banks, which are currently controlled by the Kurds.