Russia, Turkey agree to deal on northern Syria

Russia, Turkey agree to deal on northern Syria
Copyright 2019 CNN

Russia and Turkey announced a wide-ranging agreement that would establish joint Russian and Turkish patrols along much of the Turkish and Syrian border within six days.

The agreement also demands that the Syrian Kurds withdraw their fighters and weapons nearly 20 miles away.

The agreement says Russian military police and Syrian border guards will enter the Syrian side of the Syrian-Turkish border from noon Wednesday and, over the next 150 hours, remove the YPG and their weapons, back to 18 miles from the border.

The Russian military police and Turkish military will begin patrols at 6 p.m. next Tuesday, along that line. Qamishli will not be included in the six-mile zone, and it was not clear if the agreement meant the entire Turkey-Syrian border, or just the area where the Syrian Kurds exercised control.

Turkey will keep control of the areas it has taken in their military offensive — between the towns of Tal Abyad and Ras Al Ain.

The agreement also asked the YPG or Syrian Kurds/Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) to make concession outside of the current area of conflict. In the agreement, the YPG are meant to withdraw from the towns of Manbij and Tal Rifaat.

It remained unclear whether the SDF would agree to this widespread withdrawal or whether it would encompass the Syrian Kurdish population center of Kobani. Russian and regime forces have already entered the city after a Syria Kurdish invitation.