Russian forces crossed the Euphrates river in Syria and headed for the border with Turkey, state media reported Wednesday, October 23, under a deal for the withdrawal of the Syrian Democratic Forces.
The Rossiya-24 television channel and TASS news agency quoted the defense ministry as saying the convoy of Russian military police had crossed the river at noon (0900 GMT) and “advanced towards the Syrian-Turkish border.”
The agreement announced in Sochi on Tuesday will see Russian military police and Syrian border guards “facilitate the removal” of the predominately-Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) fighters and their weapons from within 30 km (18 miles) of the Turkish-Syrian border.
This withdrawal must be finalized within 150 hours.
It was reached after marathon talks between President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and President Vladimir Putin in Russia on Tuesday.
It will also see Turkey preserve a “safe zone” inside Syria about 120 km long (75 miles) and 32 km deep. Russia and Turkey will eventually launch joint patrols along the zone.
SDF spokesperson Redur Xelil told The Defense Post on Tuesday that the SDF had already pulled back from the area between Ras al-Ayn and Tel Abyad.
With reporting from AFP