Syrian leader condemns ‘thief’ Erdogan during visit to retaken area


The new accord was reached by Presidents Vladimir Putin of Russian Federation and Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey, after six hours of negotiations as they pored over maps of Syria in the Black Sea resort of Sochi.

A senior Turkish official described it as an "excellent" deal which would achieve Turkey's long-held goal of a border strip cleared of the YPG, which Ankara regards as a terrorist organization because of its links to insurgents inside Turkey. Erdogan has sought a "safe zone" along the border cleared of the fighters where Turkey could also settle numerous 3.6 million Syrian refugees now on its soil.

The Turkish military said it would not resume its offensive "at this stage" after the US-brokered cease-fire expired Tuesday night.

"It's quite obvious that if the Kurdish units don't withdraw with their weapons then Syrian border guards and Russian military police will have to step back".

Under the deal, Russian Federation is to expel the YPG from 20 miles south of the border within just over six days, as Moscow and Turkey set up joint patrols and a verification scheme in a region where the United States and its North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally had held combined air and ground operations earlier this month.

This will allow Turkey to patrol with Russian Federation in areas inside Syria that were not part of its offensive.

"We received a message from the Kurdish commander that all their armed forces had been withdrawn from the security zone under the control of the Turkish armed forces", Pence said.

Erdogan has long denounced Syrian Kurdish militias - key USA allies in the fight against Islamic State extremists - as "terrorists", due to their ties to Kurdish insurgents in southeastern Turkey.

In addition, we can never be sure that Trump won't suddenly decide to redeploy his forces back into Syria.

The Russia-Turkey agreement was widely hailed as a "road map" for peace negotiations.

But after six hours in a private meeting between Mr Erdogan and Mr Putin, the two sides agreed a deal.

Russian Federation stationed troops near the border over concerns that Syria's territory was being encroached upon by a foreign power.

Tuesday's agreement with Moscow will see it preserve that zone between the towns of Tal Abyad and Ras al-Ain, giving Ankara a crucial presence inside the country.

But Mr Erdogan had reportedly wanted all 440km of the border to be part of the safe zone.

Kurdish militias have yet to indicate whether they will agree to those demands.

He said measures were being taken to recapture them. "We are going nowhere", he said.

Trump also said some United States troops would remain in Syria's oil fields despite a broader American withdrawal from the country.

While he did not directly address the agreement between Turkey and Russia, Trump did say that he welcomed help from other countries. The five-day ceasefire that the Trump administration got Erdogan to agree to expires at 7 p.m. local time, or noon Eastern.

Turkey says it intends to control a zone stretching 20 miles deep inside Syrian territory.

More than 1,000 Islamic State prisoners have been released by Turkish-backed proxy forces with ties to extremist groups since the Turkish incursion, which started on October 9, shortly after U.S. President Donald Trump announced that he would be pulling U.S. forces out of Syria.

Kobani, where the Russian military police deployed, is of special significance to the Kurdish fighters, who fought off Islamic State militants trying to seize the city in 2014-15 in one of the fiercest battles of Syria's conflict.

The Kurdish-led SDF were Washington's main allies in the fight to dismantle Islamic State's self-declared caliphate in Syria. Defense Secretary Mark Esper insisted Monday that the United States "had no obligation" to defend the Kurds from Turkish attack.

Idlib is dominated by a former Al-Qaeda affiliate, whose leader has worked to remain in the good graces of Turkey - publicly backing Ankara's operation against Kurdish forces further east.