Moscow said Tuesday that the withdrawal of Kurdish fighters was over. Erdogan said Thursday that Turkey could verify the reality of this withdrawal after launching joint patrols with the Russians.
In accordance with the agreement that ended an Ankara offensive against Syrian Kurdish forces, Turkish and Russian military began to patrol together, Friday 1st November, in a village in the Derbassiyé region of northeastern Syria.
On board a dozen Turkish and Russian military vehicles, the soldiers headed east to Derbassiyé to patrol a strip of territory several tens of kilometers, according to Turkish and Russian military sources.
Under an agreement reached on October 22 in Sochi between Turkish presidents Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Russian Vladimir Putin, the Kurdish militia of the People's Protection Units (YPG) had until Tuesday 4 pm to withdraw from its border positions from Turkey. The agreement with Russia and another concluded on October 17 with the United States led to the cessation of an offensive that Turkey launched on October 9 against the Kurdish forces.
Turkey intends to put in place a "Security zone" about 30 kilometers deep along its border to separate it from the YPG, which it describes as 'Terrorists' but who are allied with Western countries in the fight against the jihadist group Islamic State (IS).
To note the withdrawal of the YPGs
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Choygou said on Tuesday that the withdrawal of Kurdish fighters was over. Erdogan said Thursday that Turkey could verify the reality of this withdrawal after launching joint patrols with the Russians.
Thanks to its latest offensive, Turkey, which already controlled entire areas of northern Syria from two previous operations west of the Euphrates, was able to expand its presence to the east of the river with the implementation of planned place of "Safety zone" – 120 km long and 30 km deep – between the localities of Tall Abyad and Ras al-Ain, from which it has dislodged the YPG fighters during its last offensive.
The presence of the Syrian regime's army, called for help by the YPG, in other areas of the border, however, prevents Ankara from extending this area to some 450 km along the border as it had the intention. But according to the Sochi agreement, Moscow has pledged to send the YPGs from these areas in coordination with the Syrian army to push them back to at least 30 km from the Turkish border and to launch joint patrols with the army. Turkey on a depth of 10 km in Syrian territory.