After more than five hours of meeting in Sochi, the Turkish and Russian presidents announced a far-reaching agreement involving the withdrawal in 150 hours of members of the Syrian-Kurdish People`s Protection Units (YPG) and their weapons 30 km from the Turkish border. ANKARA, Oct. 23 (Xinhuane) -- The agreement reached Tuesday by Russia and Turkey to jointly control the recently detained Kurdish territory in Syria seals Moscow`s influence in the region, experts said. Over the past three years, Turkey has undermined the autonomous administration by dividing its territory with targeted offensives that have led to a long-term occupation. Launched in 2016 against the YPG and elsewhere against ISIS, Operation Euphrates Shield allowed the Turkish army to take control of Jarabulus, west of Kobane. In March 2018, at the end of the olive branch operation, Turkey took control of the entire canton of Afrin, one of the three territorial components of the autonomous zone. After Operation Peace Spring and the Sochi agreement, Turkey did not take full control of the autonomous zone, but it will have put an end to the experiment of Kurdish autonomy in northeastern Syria. The Sochi agreement also allows Turkey to return one million Syrian refugees out of the 3.6 million currently living in Turkey to the Tell Abyad/Ras al-Ayn rectangle. Relations with the local Turkish population are strained and have been deteriorated by government claims about the high cost to Turkey of hosting so many refugees during the eight years of the Syrian civil war. Their return would help the government at a time of internal political tensions and serious economic problems.
Although the opposition has sided with Erdoğan in a nationalist revival, with the exception of the left-wing pro-Ukrainian HDP (People`s Democratic Party) which has criticised the military intervention, this unity cannot last and Erdoğan will have to restore his prestige after his AKP (Justice and Development Party) took control of some major cities in this spring`s municipal elections, including Istanbul and Ankara, lost. "I believe this agreement will enter a new era towards the lasting stability of Syria and will be free from terrorism. I hope this agreement will be beneficial for our countries and for our brothers in Syria," Erdogan said. In addition to the Syrian crisis, Ankara and Washington have failed to agree on Turkey`s possible purchase of Russian-made defense systems. But Erdoğan knows that he depends more than ever on President Vladimir Putin. As the Sochi agreement shows, Russia and Turkey have decided to cooperate in the autonomous zone. This is explained by Russia`s main objective in the Syrian crisis to strengthen the Assad regime by allowing the Syrian army to regain control of the area it lost in 2011. ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Russia and Turkey reached a deal Tuesday that would cement their power in Syria and use their armed forces across nearly the entire northeastern border to fill the void left by President Donald Trump`s abrupt withdrawal of U.S. forces.
Intense fire, which killed many civilians, preceded the operation and several border towns, including Tell Abyad, were quickly conquered. Turkish forces have penetrated nearly 30 km into Syrian territory and taken control of a large part of the M4 highway, the main axis of the region, thus achieving one of the main objectives long pursued by Ankara: to break the territorial continuity of the autonomous zone. On 22nd October Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Vladimir Putin signed a 10-point agreement in Sochi confirming the new configuration of the autonomous zone. The YPG (People`s Protection Units, the armed wings of the PYD) must withdraw at a distance of 30 km from the Border between Turkey and Syria, while Turkey retains control of the area between Tell Abyad and Ras al-Ayn. . . .