Putin Convinced Turkey To Accept Far Less Than Intended
Oct. 23, 2019 (EIRNS)—Meduza, a Latvian-based Russian language service with an English sector, reported today that it was Russian President Putin’s meeting in Sochi with Turkish President Erdogan which convinced Turkey to stop far short of their intended 250 km long safe zone along the border, 32 km deep into Syrian territory, with several Syrian cities under their control. Rather, they stopped where they were—only 60 miles along the border and about 6-10 miles deep, with only two Syrian cities.
Meduza claims that U.S. Vice President Mike Pence’s discussion in Ankara with Erdogan was based on accepting the full 250x32 km safe zone, but “after talks with Putin in Sochi on Oct. 22, however, Erdogan’s claims were reduced” to the smaller area already under Turkish control. Meduza reports: “The Syrian government and Russian military police will now control nearly all the remaining autonomous Kurdish territory ... which will be off-limits to Turkish troops, though Turkey will get the right to participate in joint patrols alongside Russian forces up to 10 km (6.2 miles) from the border.”
Meduza further reports that the agreement does not mention the resettlement of the 2 million Syrian refugees now in Turkey into Kurdish territory, which is not likely possible in the reduced region of control.
Another issue pointing to Syria recovering control over its territory is that some of the anti-Damascus insurgents remaining in Idlib Province were withdrawn by the Turks to participate in the occupation of the northeast—but this has weakened the rebels in Idlib, where President Bashar al-Assad is expected to launch an offensive, which would essentially end the war.