During lengthy talks presidents Putin and Erdogan have agreed to deploy Russian military police and Syrian servicemen to northeastern Syria, while Turkey’s operation ‘Peace Spring’ will continue in a limited area.
Moscow understands the reasons behind the ongoing Turkish military incursion into Syria, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin said, though he stressed it must not play into the hands of terrorists and that the territorial integrity of Syria must be preserved.
Ultimately, the country must be freed from all “illegal foreign military presence,” the president added, reiterating Moscow’s long-time position.
The almost-seven-hour-long talks in Sochi, Russia between Putin and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan were focused on the situation in Syria, particularly the ongoing offensive in its northeastern region.
The agreement says the Kurdish-led militias – the prime target of the Turkish operation – must withdraw into Syrian territory beyond 30 km from the Turkish border.
Erdogan’s operation, meanwhile, will continue in a limited area – between towns of Tell Abyad and Ras al-Ayn – up to 32 km inside Syrian territory.
Other parts of the Syrian border – from Kobani to Tell Abyad and from Ras al-Ayn to the Iraqi border – are set to be controlled by the Syrian military and border guards, supported by Russian military police.
At the same time, areas not affected by the Turkish military operation, will be jointly patrolled by the Turkish military and Russian military police up to 10 km deep into Syrian territory.
The issue of multiple strongholds and safe havens in northeastern Syria where ISIS fighters are detained, was specifically singled out. Putin stressed that the inevitable chaos created by the Turkish operation should not allow them to escape.
It’s important that members of terrorist organizations, including ISIS, whose militants are held hostage by US armed groups and are trying to break free, do not take advantage of the Turkish armed forces actions,” Putin stressed.
Both Turkey and Russia reiterated the importance of the 1998 Adana accord, a security pact between Syria and Turkey.
Among other things it allows the Turkish military to carry out cross-border operations in Syria, while Damascus promised not to harbor members of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which Ankara considers a terrorist organization.
While diplomatic relations between the two were significantly damaged during the years of the Syrian conflict, the pact was never denounced, and now Moscow has pledged to support its implementation in the “modern reality.”
Ankara has accused the Kurdish-led militias across the border in Syria of having strong ties to the PKK. Indeed, PKK flags and insignia have been repeatedly seen displayed by Kurdish forces in Syria, though the extent of the ties between the groups is not known.
The Turkish-Russian memorandum mostly covers the same region and the same issue as the deal reached between Ankara and Washington five days ago. Still, the USA and its “ceasefire” were barely mentioned.
Russia does not particularly look at the United States and/or its stance. That stance is quite variable and contradictory, and of course, the coalition led by the United States is in Syria illegally, this is well known,” Lavrov told reporters.
After the meeting with Erdogan, Russia’s president spoke to his Syrian counterpart Bashar Assad, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.
Assad has expressed support for the memorandum, stating that the Syrian border guards are ready to work together with Russian military police.
Moscow has repeatedly urged Turkey to show restraint in its activities in Syria, and warned it against doing anything that might hamper the political settlement process in the country.
RT. com / ABC Flash Point News 2019.