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More Russian military police arrive in Syria under peace deal with Turkey

  • Published at 01:37 am October 26th, 2019
Russia-Syria
A convoy of Russian military vehicles drives toward the northeastern city of Kobani on October 23, 2019 AFP

The deal, reached on Tuesday by Presidents Tayyip Erdogan and Vladimir Putin, requires that Russian military police and Syrian border guards remove all Kurdish YPG militia from within 30km of the Turkish border by next Tuesday

Around 300 more Russian military police have arrived in Syria, the Russian defence ministry said on Friday, under an accord between Ankara and Moscow which halted Turkey's military incursion into northeast Syria.

The deal, reached on Tuesday by Presidents Tayyip Erdogan and Vladimir Putin, requires that Russian military police and Syrian border guards remove all Kurdish YPG militia from within 30km of the Turkish border by next Tuesday.

The military police, from the southern Russian region of Chechnya, will patrol and help with the withdrawal of Kurdish forces and their weapons to 30 km of the Syrian-Turkish border, Interfax news agency reported the ministry as saying.

Ankara regards the YPG as a terrorist group aligned with Kurdish militants who have waged an insurgency in southeast Turkey since 1984.

Turkey launched its offensive against the YPG on Oct. 9 after President Donald Trump ordered US forces out of northeast Syria. It halted its assault under a U.S.-brokered ceasefire that called for a YPG withdrawal from the border area. The Putin-Erdogan deal built on and widened that agreement.

Russia said on Thursday the peace plan was being implemented smoothly and RIA news agency quoted an SDF official as saying Kurdish fighters had already withdrawn from the border area.

However, the YPG-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) accused Turkey of launching a large land offensive on Thursday targeting three villages in northeast Syria despite the truce, forcing thousands more civilians to flee.

Turkey's Defence Ministry has not commented directly on the SDF report but said five of its military personnel had been wounded in an attack by the YPG militia around the border town of Ras al Ain, near where the three villages are located.