Erdogan, Putin met in Sochi and sign agreement on northern Syria + Full text of agreement
ISWNews Analysis Group: Today, an important meeting between presidents of Russia and Turkey was held in Sochi, and after six hours of negotiations the sides finally reached an agreement on northern Syria and the Kurds issue.
Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Vladimir Putin, have agreed to push back Kurdish forces from a “safe zone” along the Turkey-Syria border, after hours of talks in Sochi.
Following the meeting, a joint memorandum of understanding was published by both sides. According to this Memorandum:
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 emphasise 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 32km (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 10km (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 infiltrations 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.”
At the moment, the Syrian Democratic Forces have not responded to the memorandum, and it will be clear in the coming hours how much of the agreement will be acceptable by the Kurds and how much of it will be doable at the designated time.
The interesting thing about this memorandum is that the conditions are not different from the previous demands of Turkey; and perhaps if Kurdish political and military officials had previously agreed with the Turks they could have gained better points; But now US’s place has changed with Russia and the coalition’s border forces have been replaced with the Syrian border forces…
Woulnd’t it have been better for them to made a prior deal with the Syrian government, rather than waiting for the U.S. abandon them? They would have avoided these heavy losses had they chosen this path.