| 14.8°C Dublin

Russia steps in as power-broker with new Syrian border deal

Close

Determined: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Photo: Murat Kula/AFP via Getty Images

Determined: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Photo: Murat Kula/AFP via Getty Images

Determined: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Photo: Murat Kula/AFP via Getty Images

Turkey and Russia announced last night they had reached a deal to avoid a return to full-scale fighting in north-east Syria, hours before a US-brokered ceasefire between Turkish and Kurdish forces was due to expire.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin emerged from marathon talks in Sochi with an agreement which would see all Kurdish forces pull back 18 miles from the Syrian border over the next six days.

Russia and Turkey will then launch joint military patrols in the area to ensure the deal is being implemented.

There was no immediate comment from Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces on the deal. But if the agreement holds, it means Turkey will not restart its military offensive.

"According to this agreement, Turkey and Russia will not allow any separatist agenda on Syrian territory," Mr Erdogan said.

The talks underscore how quickly Russia has replaced the US as the main power- broker in north-east Syria in the days since Donald Trump pulled American forces out. Russian forces will now stand guard in areas which only a few weeks were ago were being patrolled by US troops.

The US said earlier in the day it believed Kurdish forces had fulfilled their obligations to withdraw from a key 75-mile stretch of the border and warned Turkey it would impose sanctions if the Turkish military resumed attacks.

The deal appears to expand on the earlier US agreement and ensure Kurdish forces will leave the entire length of the border. Turkey will maintain control in areas it has already seized while Russian and Syrian regime forces will hold the rest of the border.

The agreement also states the Kurds will withdraw from two hold-out towns in western Syria, Kobani and Tel Rifaat, which Turkey has been trying to dislodge them from for more than a year.

Daily Digest Newsletter

Get ahead of the day with the morning headlines at 7.30am and Fionnán Sheahan's exclusive take on the day's news every afternoon, with our free daily newsletter.

This field is required


Most Watched





Privacy