Troops belonging to the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) have begun retreat. US soldiers leave Syria and reposition themselves in neighboring Iraq. For Ankara the agreement is only a "pause" and intends to continue according to the "plans". High expectations ahead of tomorrow's meeting in Sochi between Erdogan and Putin.
Damascus (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Kurdish troops belonging to the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) have begun withdrawal operations from the town of Ras al-Ain, in the context of the truce signed by Turkey and the United States last weekend.
Arab-Kurdish militia spokesman Kino Gabriel points out that all fighters left the area on the same day that the US military left Syria to reposition itself in Iraq. "We no longer have any fighters in the city," the military said in a note.
The 120-hour ceasefire mediated by Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan and US vice-president Mike Pence interrupted the offensive launched by the Turkish military across the border, towards the Syrian Kurds. An operation according to Ankara aimed at cleaning up the area from "terrorists" (Kurdish fighters) and ensuring border security. In reality, Erdogan wants to oppose any Kurdish expansion that could lead to the birth of an autonomous state.
In these hours the Ankara leaders have stressed once more that the agreement only involves a "pause" in operations to allow the Kurdish withdrawal, not a ceasefire.
On October 19, dozens of injured people were evacuated from Ras al-Ain thanks to a humanitarian convoy that had the green light to enter the besieged town.
Earlier, some Kurdish sources had attacked their Turkish counterparts and their allies [mercenary groups fighting against the Syrian regular army and jihadist militias], accusing them of intentionally blocking the flight of civilians, combatants and wounded.
Yesterday the Turkish Ministry of Defense intervened stating that "there were no obstacles" to evacuation operations, which continues in coordination with the US counterpart.
On the diplomatic front, the wait is for tomorrow, when Erdogan will meet Vladimir Putin in Sochi. Ankara's objective is to outline the "security zone" between Turkey and Syria, with the guarantee of a Turkish presence in controlled areas - at the moment - by Bashar al-Assad's troops supported by Moscow.
Erdogan finally clarified that he intends to continue with his "plans" if the goal of expelling Kurdish militias is not achieved.