Russia, Turkey reach deal to remove Kurdish YPG from Syria border – media
Syrian and Russian forces will deploy in northeast Syria to remove Kurdish YPG fighters and their weapons from the border with Turkey under a deal agreed on Tuesday which both Moscow and Ankara hailed as a triumph.
Hours after the deal was announced, the Turkish defense ministry said that the United States had told Turkey the withdrawal of Kurdish militants was complete from the "safe zone" Ankara demands in northern Syria, Reuters said.
There was no need to initiate another operation outside the current area of operation at this stage, the ministry said in a statement, effectively ending its military offensive that had begun on October 9, drawing widespread criticism.
The agreement follows a U.S.-brokered truce which expired on Tuesday and underlines the dizzying changes in Syria since U.S. President Donald Trump announced the withdrawal of American troops two weeks ago ahead of Turkey's cross-border offensive against the Kurds.
The Russia-Turkey agreement struck in the Black Sea resort of Sochi endorses the return of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's forces to the border alongside Russian troops, replacing the Americans who had patrolled the region for years with their former Kurdish allies.
Under the pact between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan, the two countries said Russian military police and Syrian border guards would start removing the YPG 30 km (19 miles) from the Turkish border on Wednesday.
Six days later, Russian and Turkish forces will jointly start to patrol a narrower, 10 km strip of land in the "safe zone" that Ankara has long sought in northeast Syria.
U.S. Vice President Mike Pence voiced support for the establishment of the safe zone.