Kurds Accuse Turkey of Ceasefire Violations, Russia says Peace Plan on Track

The presidents Tayyip Erdogan and Vladimir Putin agreed that the Syrian Kurdish forces are to withdraw more than 30 km (19 miles) from the Turkish border.

Russia said it is sending more military policemen and heavy equipment to help implement the deal.

Ankara considers the Kurdish YPG militia, the main component in the SDF, as terrorists connected to Kurdish insurgents in southeast Turkey. It launched a cross-border offensive against them on Oct. 9 after Trump ordered U.S. forces out of northeast Syria.

Thanks to the deal with Putin, it helped end the fighting.

However, the SDF said on Thursday that Turkish forces had attacked three villages “outside the area of the ceasefire process,” forcing thousands of civilians to flee.

“Despite our forces’ commitment to the ceasefire decision and the withdrawal of our forces from the entire ceasefire area, the Turkish state and the terrorist factions allied to it are still violating the ceasefire process,” it said.

“Our forces are still clashing,” it said.

Turkey’s defense ministry did not comment on this directly but said that 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.

“If these terrorists don’t pull back and continue their provocations, we will implement our plans for a (new) offensive there,” Erdogan said in a speech to local administrators.

RIA, citing an SDF official, said the Kurdish fighters had already withdrawn to 32 km (20 miles) away from the border. It also said the Kurds were ready to plan the joining the Syrian army once the crisis in Syria has been settled.

Russia is planning on sending more military policemen and 33 units of military hardware to Syria in a week.

Russian and Turkish forces will start to patrol a 10 km strip of land in northeast Syria on Thursday where U.S. troops had for years been deployed along with their former Kurdish allies.

The Russian deployments have also further highlighted increasingly close ties between Russia and NATO member Turkey.

U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper, speaking in Brussels on Thursday ahead of a NATO meeting, said Turkey was moving in the wrong direction.

“We see them spinning closer to Russia’s orbit than in the Western orbit and I think that is unfortunate,” Esper said.

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