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Russia agreement on northeast Syria

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Vladimir Putin met with Recep Tayyip Erdoğan for the sixth meeting of the High-Level Russian-Turkish Cooperation Council, Moscow, Russia.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, have agreed to push back Kurdish fighters from a “safe zone” along the Turkey-Syria border, after marathon talks in Sochi.

The meeting on Tuesday centered on the security situation in northeast Syria following the launch of Turkey’s cross-border operation on October 9 aimed at driving the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), which Ankara considers “terrorists” from the area.

Russia agreed to help Turkey drive out Kurdish militias from a “safe zone” in northeastern Syria, highlighting Moscow’s flourishing ties with a NATO member and a re-balance of power in war-torn Syria as U.S. troops leave.

Below is the memorandum of understanding reached by the two countries.

“President of the Republic of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan and President of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Putin agreed on the following:

  1. The two sides reiterate their commitment to the preservation of the political unity and territorial integrity of Syria and the protection of national security of Turkey.
  2. They emphasis their determination to combat terrorism in all forms and manifestations and to disrupt separatist agendas in the Syrian territory.
  3. In this framework, the established status quo in the current Operation Peace Spring area covering Tel Abyad and [Ras al-Ain] with a depth of 32 km (20 miles) will be preserved.
  4. Both sides reaffirm the importance of the Adana Agreement. The Russian Federation will facilitate the implementation of the Adana Agreement in the current circumstances.
  5. Starting 12.00 noon of October 23, 2019, Russian military police and Syrian border guards will enter the Syrian side of the Turkish-Syrian border, outside the area of Operation Peace Spring, to facilitate the removal of YPG elements and their weapons to the depth of 30km (19 miles) from the Turkish-Syrian border, which should be finalized in 150 hours. At that moment, joint Russian-Turkish patrols will start in the west and the east of the area of Operation Peace Spring with a depth of 10 km (six miles), except Qamishli city.
  6. All YPG elements and their weapons will be removed from Manbij and Tal Rifat.
  7. Both sides will take necessary measures to prevent infiltration of terrorist elements.
  8. Joint efforts will be launched to facilitate the return of refugees in a safe and voluntary manner.
  9. A joint monitoring and verification mechanism will be established to oversee and coordinate the implementation of this memorandum.
  10. The two sides will continue to work to find a lasting political solution to the Syrian conflict within Astana Mechanism and will support the activity of the Constitutional Committee.”

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