A pause to allow the withdrawal of Kurdish troops, who denounce the use of chemical weapons. Analysts and experts speak of further capitulation of the United States to Ankara’s ambitions. The death toll worsens: 224 among the Arab-Kurds, 183 in the pro-Turkish groups and 72 civilians. Over 300,000 displaced people.
Ankara (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Ankara says it will halt its offensive against Kurdish "terrorists" (Ypg militias involved in the fight against ISIS) across the border in Syria for five days in return the United States will not impose new economic and trade sanctions on Ankara.
This is the fruit of the agreement reached yesterday between Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and US Vice-President Mike Pence, on an official visit to the Turkish capital. Washington will "take advantage" of this time to favor the withdrawal of the Kurds beyond the "buffer zone" wanted by the "Sultan" to guarantee border security.
The announcement came at the end of a long confrontation, lasting hours, between the two delegations. Erdogan has agreed to stop the advance of his troops, supported on the ground by rebel groups and anti-Assad jihadists, and which has already caused hundreds of deaths, including civilians.
In exchange, the US has blocked new sanctions and promised to remove the punitive measures already taken last week against the economy of Ankara, which Trump has threatened to "destroy".
The end of the truce also coincides with the meeting scheduled in Sochi between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish counterpart Erdogan.
The leader of the Syrian Democratic Forces (Sdf) reports that he accepted the Turkish proposal, but only with regard to the interruption of the fighting between Ras al Ain and Tal Abyad. No comment on the part concerning the withdrawal of Kurdish forces from the "safe zone", their disarmament and the dismantling of military posts.
According to some analysts and experts, however, this truce is not an attempt to ease the tension but a "surrender" imposed on the Kurds, who in these hours have denounced the use of chemical weapons by the Turks.
Meanwhile, the offensive budget is getting heavier, with victims and wounded even among the civilian population. According to reports from the UK-based NGO Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which has a dense network of whistleblowers in the area, the dead among the ranks of the Syrian Democratic Forces (Sdf, the Arab-Kurdish alliance) rises to 224 after eight days of close fighting. At least 183 victims registered among rebel and jihadist groups supporting the Turkish army in this military campaign. Also the budget of civilian victims is heavy, which reaches 72 among which there are also Christians.
As for the displaced, fleeing from the north-east of Syria, the total has exceeded 300 thousand as confirmed by the director of the Observatory Rami Abdel Rahman. The toll has worsened in recent days, with a massive exodus from the cities of Tal Abyad, Kobane and the province of Hassaké. Most refugees went to relatives and families in areas considered safer, some in cultivated fields and orchards, and others in the 40 schools in the area turned into emergency shelters.
The issue of displaced persons and their possible mass exodus towards Iraqi Kurdistan, increasingly at risk of destabilization, is one of the dangers linked to this offensive launched on 9 October by Turkey. Christian leaders have reported this to AsiaNews and underscored the danger of a return of the Islamic State (IS, formerly Isis), which intends to take advantage of the chaos to free the fighters held in Kurdish prisons and reorganize themselves militarily.