Erdogan seeks Russian assistance against the Kurds in Syria
ANKARA, ($1=8.88 Turkish Liras) – Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, during a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, will call on Moscow to help prevent attacks by Kurdish paramilitaries against the Turkish military in northern Syria, learned BulgarianMilitary.com, citing Bloomberg report on Tuesday.
“Ankara wants Russia to prevent attacks on Turkish soldiers by members of the Kurdish paramilitaries operating in territories controlled by Russian forces or Moscow-backed Syrian forces,” said a Turkish official who wished to remain anonymous about Erdogan’s priorities at the Sochi meeting, the agency writes regarding sources.
In particular, we are talking about the fact that the fighters of the Syrian Kurdish Self-Defense Forces (YPG) must leave the cities of Manbij and Tell Rifat, as agreed by Turkey and Russia in 2019, the agency notes, citing a source.
Following the Russian-Turkish memorandum concluded on October 22, 2019, in Sochi, all formations of Kurdish militias from the People’s Self-Defense Units should be withdrawn 30 km from the border with Turkey in northeastern Syria, and all units of the ONS should be withdrawn from the cities of Manbij and Tell Rif’ata.
A bilateral meeting between Putin and Erdogan is scheduled for September 29 in Sochi.
The civil war in Syria
The Syrian civil war has been going on for almost a decade. Attempts by movements such as the Syrian Democratic Forces to overthrow Syrian President Bashar al-Assad have failed.
The Syrian democratic forces are armed by allies and the United States, while the Syrian army is armed mainly by Russia. Russia is the only country officially invited to Syria by President Bashar al-Assad.
In 2017, the United States launched a massive missile strike on Bashar al-Assad’s forces after a report emerged that the Syrian president had used chemical weapons to attack his people in the country. Syria and Russia deny such actions.
During his tenure, US President Donald Trump decided to withdraw much of US troops from Syria, leaving several troops to guard Syria’s oil fields on the pretext of “falling into the hands of Islamic State.”
With the withdrawal of the United States, Turkey comes to the fore, declaring it necessary to deal with the Kurds and the PKK movement in the northern part of the country, which borders Turkey. That is why Erdogan is sending troops in an attempt to build a stable and secure 30km zone between Syria and Turkey, which will prevent future terrorist attacks on Turkish territory, as it is.
In February 2020, Turkey lost at least 62 troops killed in Syria. Nearly 100 soldiers were wounded, Syrian-backed forces destroyed dozens of Turkish armored vehicles, and more than ten drones, including drones, were shot down. Washington has repeatedly accused Moscow of involvement in the deaths of Turkish soldiers, Russia rejects these allegations.
In early March 2020, the presidents of Russia and Turkey, Vladimir Putin and Recep Tayyip Erdogan, agreed that a ceasefire came into force in the Idlib de-escalation zone. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad later said that if the US and Turkish military did not leave the country, Damascus would use military power.
The reason for the Russian-Turkish negotiations was a sharp aggravation of the situation in Idlib, where in January, a large-scale offensive by the Syrian army against the positions of the armed opposition and terrorists began.
Government forces recaptured nearly half of the Idlib de-escalation zone and left behind several Turkish observation posts. After that, Ankara sharply increased its military contingent in the region and launched the operation “Spring Shield” to push the Syrian troops. Militants are loyal to Ankara and support Turkey.
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