Kurds pull back from Syrian-Turkish borderline

DAMASCUS (Xinhua) – The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) yesterday began withdrawing from the Syrian-Turkish border as part of a recent Russian-Turkish understanding, state news agency SANA reported.

The head of the media office of the SDF was cited by Russia Today TV as saying the SDF withdrawal from the borderline comes after Russia made guarantees to the Kurdish forces.

He said the Syrian forces will be deployed on all the Syrian-Turkish borderline, adding Russia is playing the role of a mediator between the Syrian government and the Kurdish administration in northern Syria.

Over the past couple of days, the Syrian army sent thousands of soldiers to deploy where the Kurdish forces have been pulling out.

On October 9, Turkey launched an operation to clear the Kurdish militia from northern Syria in the east of the Euphrates river to eliminate what Turkey perceives as a threat to its border security, impose a safe zone and resettle millions of Syrian refugees.

File photo shows Russian military patrolling areas near Syrian and Turkish border in northern Syria. PHOTO: AP

On October 13, the Kurdish-led administration in northern Syria said the Syrian army will deploy along the border with Turkey in an agreement with the Kurdish-led administration in northern Syria to help repel a Turkish offensive.

The United States reached a deal with Turkey on October 17, imposing a five-day cease-fire to allow the Kurdish forces to pull back from the planned safe zone.

On October 22, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin held a meeting in Sochi, Russia, agreeing on the parameters of the proposed Turkish safe zone in northern Syria.

The deal stipulates that the Kurdish militia of the SDF and its broader umbrella of the People’s Protection Units will pull back 30km south of Turkey’s border within 150 hours.

Joint patrols by Turkish and Russian forces will cover the area, according to the deal.