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Syrian Democratic Forces Completes Withdrawal from Syria-Turkey Border Region

Oct. 30, 2019 (EIRNS)—The Russian Defense Ministry announced yesterday that the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) had completed its withdrawal back to 32 km from the Turkish border as called for in the Oct. 22 Turkish-Russian agreement. “The pullout of the armed formations from the territory where a safe corridor is due to be created has been completed ahead of schedule. Both Syrian border guards and our military police have moved in,” Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said during a joint appearance with his Armenian counterpart in Yerevan. This was acknowledged by a statement issued by the Turkish Defense Ministry. “The Russian Federation informed us that after the expiration of the 150-hour term, People’s Protection Units, YPG, withdrew with heavy weaponry from the Turkish-Syrian border beyond the 30 km zone, except for Manbij and Tell Rifaat,” the statement said. The ministry also noted the start of “the process of locating and clearance of mines to the west and east of the location of Operation Peace Spring, excluding Qamishli.”

The Oct. 22 agreement called for joint Russian-Turkish patrols in the border region once the SDF withdrawal was verified and now, according to news reports, those patrols will start on Nov. 1. A Russian military delegation has been in Ankara to discuss implementation going forward. “The first day of the discussions was completed with the Russian military delegation, which came to Ankara to plan the activities to be carried out within the framework of the agreement reached with Russia on Oct. 22, 2019 in Sochi,” said the Turkish Defense Ministry on late Oct. 28.

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