Kurdish-led SDF militant group thanks Russia for defusing Turkey's Syria incursion
Iran Press TV
Thu Oct 24, 2019 06:45AM
The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) militant group has thanked Moscow for striking a deal with Ankara, which ended a Turkish offensive against Kurdish militants in northern Syria, welcoming the deployment of Russian and Syrian troops to the border regions as part of the agreement.
During talks with Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and Chief of General Staff Valery Gerasimov via video-link on Wednesday, SDF head Mazloum Abdi said Moscow had saved the Kurds from the "scourge" of war through the recent agreement with Ankara.
According to a SDF statement, Abdi "expressed his thanks to President Vladimir Putin and the Russian Federation for their keenness on defusing the war in our region and sparing civilians its scourge."
"Currently, units of the Russian military police and regular Syrian troops are being deployed into many locations. We are providing them with all kind of help and assistance," Abdi said.
Abdi, however, expressed "reservations about some points of the agreement," which he said need to be put to further discussions.
The Ankara-Moscow deal put an end to the Turkish offensive, which had been launched on October 9 with the aim of cleansing the regions near its border of US-backed Kurdish militias – whom it views as terrorists linked to local autonomy-seeking Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) militants – and establishing a "safe zone" there.
The 10-point memorandum of understanding was unveiled following lengthy talks between Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Sochi.
Under the deal, which took effect at noon on Wednesday, Russian military police and Syrian border guards entered the northern border regions to facilitate the removal of YPG militants and their weapons to a depth of 30 kilometers (19 miles) from Syria's frontier with Turkey.
Once the process is complete, within 150 hours, Turkish and Russian soldiers will begin joint patrols of the entire border area to a depth of 10 kilometers (six miles) with the exception of the border city of Qamishli in Hasakah Province.
The Turkish invasion of Syria came with the green light of the US, which was once a staunch supporter of the Kurdish militants. Prior to the incursion, Washington abruptly pulled its forces out of Syria's northern regions, effectively moving aside for NATO ally Ankara to attack the Kurds.
Feeling betrayed by the US, the Kurdish militants turned to Damascus for help, inking a Russia-brokered deal with the Syrian government, under which the Kurds allowed army troops to deploy along the Turkish border to stave off Ankara's offensive.
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