Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Sunday, November 17th, 2019

Syrian Kurdish Forces Say Leaving Turkish Border Area, Damascus Welcomes Move

Syrian Kurdish Forces Say Leaving  Turkish Border Area, Damascus  Welcomes Move

BEIRUT - The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) said on Sunday it had agreed to withdraw more than 30 km (19 miles) from the Turkish border, an announcement welcomed by Damascus which said Turkey should now end its “aggression” in northeast Syria.
Turkey launched its cross-border offensive on Oct. 9 targeting Kurdish YPG forces in northeast Syria after President Donald Trump pulled U.S. troops out of the area.
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan and Russia’s Vladimir Putin then agreed on Oct. 22 that Syrian border guards and Russian military police would clear the border area up to 30 km into Syria of YPG fighters over a six-day period that ends Tuesday.
The YPG is the main component of the SDF and is viewed by Ankara as terrorists due to their links to Kurdish insurgents in southeast Turkey. But the SDF has been a key ally of the United States in the fight against Islamic State militants.
“The SDF is redeploying to new positions away from the Turkish-Syrian border across northeast Syria in accordance with the terms of the (Erdogan-Putin) agreement in order to stop the bloodshed and to protect the inhabitants of the region from Turkish attacks,” the SDF said in a statement.
It urged Russia to help ensure “a constructive dialogue” between the Kurdish-led administration in northeast Syria and the government of President Bashar al-Assad in Damascus.
Moscow is Assad’s closest ally and Russian military power has proven decisive in helping him turn the tide of Syria’s eight-year civil war and recover large swathes of territory.
The Sochi agreement allows Assad’s forces to return to parts of the northern border with Turkey for the first time in years. (Reuters)