10/23/2019, 10.12
TURKEY - RUSSIA - SYRIA
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Moscow and Ankara make "historic" agreement at Kurds’ expense

The pact reached yesterday after seven hours of talks between the Russian president and the Turkish counterpart. The two sides have established joint patrols up to 10 km in Syrian territory. For Ankara "there are no reasons" to resume the offensive. Assad thanks Putin and attacks the "thief" Erdogan

Sochi (AsiaNews / Agencies) - After seven hours of talks yesterday in Sochi between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Moscow and Ankara reached a "historic" agreement, which could ease the tension on the border between Turkey and Russia.

On 9 October the Turkish army had launched a massive offensive against the Kurdish forces, with the aim of creating a "buffer zone" along the southern border. The operation, later interrupted thanks to US mediation, had already caused hundreds of deaths and over 300 thousand displaced in a few days.

In the memorandum of understanding between the parties it was established that the two countries will conduct joint patrols up to 10 km inside the Syrian territory, beyond the Turkish border, in the eastern and western sectors where the Turkish offensive was concentrated. The operations exclude Qamishli, the main Kurdish center of the area, in which there is also a substantial Christian community.

The agreement between the parties is also a consequence of the growing US disengagement in Syria, as announced several times by President Donald Trump. A decision that has been the object, even in the last few hours, of critical and ferocious attacks by Democratic and Republican exponents of the Congress and which has led to a growing influence of Russia in the Middle East region.

Within hours of signing the agreement, Ankara has confirmed that "there are no reasons" to resume the "Peace Source" offensive, also because the Ypg Kurdish fighters would withdraw from what the Turks consider the "security zone" ". At the conclusion of the five-day truce, the Turkish Ministry of Defense underlined, the United States announced that the withdrawal of Ypg forces from the area is complete ".

Ankara has torn a 120 km long strip of land between the towns of Ras al-Ain and Tal Abyad, within which it would like to reposition up to two million Syrian refugees hosted in Turkey. In reality, behind the operation strongly desired by Erdogan there is also the objective of preventing the birth of an independent Kurdish state.

Joint patrolling should start as early as today. At the moment it is not clear whether the Kurdish militias will respect all the conditions set by the agreement reached by Moscow and Ankara. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, visiting troops in Idlib province, thanked Putin and expressed "full support" for his intervention and attacked Erdogan, calling him "thief" because he would steal "factories, wheat, oil and land" .

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