Russian military police arrived Sunday in Kobane, northern Syria, the scene of a Turkish offensive in early October to "chase" Kurdish terrorists, while President Recep Tayyip Erdogan threatened to resume fighting in the region. case of non-compliance with the Sochi Agreement.
These developments coincide with the dissemination of reports of "neutralization" in the region of the leader of the self-proclaimed "Islamic State" (IS / Daesh) group, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. Deployed for joint patrols with the Turkish military in the Syrian town, the soldiers are responsible for "ensuring the control of the posts and the respect of the peace on this territory," said the Russian officer Mikhail Elsoukov.
According to Elsukov, the Turkish military, in coordination with the Russians, will follow a previously elaborate route, indicating that after the arrival of the Syrian army, the Kurdish militia "were withdrawing from their positions to allow the Syrian troops to occupy positions of the vanguard ". The Russian Ministry of Defense, meanwhile, announced that dozens of armored vehicles had been routed to the Hmeimim base in Syria, to meet the needs of the military police.
On Tuesday, Presidents Vladimir Putin and Erdogan signed a memorandum on the sidelines of the first Russia-Africa Economic Forum in Sochi (Russia), which calls for the deployment of the Russian military police and Syrian border guards in northern Syria. The military in these countries will have to ensure the withdrawal of Kurdish militias and their armament from a 30-kilometer-deep strip along the border in northeastern Syria near Turkey. This territory had been targeted by the Ankara offensive. The Russians and Turks have planned to start joint patrols in this area after the 150 hours of the agreement, which expires Tuesday at 18:00 local (1500 GMT). Turkey is also in control of another region in the north-east where its army is already present, and which it took control of during its offensive of 9 October against YPG Kurdish fighters, which Ankara considers as "terrorists." This deployment comes after Erdogan's threat to resume fighting to "chase the terrorists" from the border if this agreement was not respected. Despite the threat he waved, he stressed that Turkey had "to a large extent" achieved its goal of establishing a "safe zone" to protect itself from attacks by elements of Daesh and the YPG, and install some of the 3.6 million Syrian refugees that Ankara hosted.
However, Washington has begun sending reinforcements to the Syrian oil east, an official at the US Defense Ministry said Saturday as a military convoy carrying US flags entered Syria from neighboring Iraq. He said Washington has begun to strengthen its positions in Deir Ezzor province, home to major Syrian oil fields, in coordination with the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), dominated by Kurdish fighters.
The security situation in northeastern Syria has been the focus of discussions among several leaders in Sochi. In a telephone conversation Saturday, Putin informed his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron of the detailed content of the Russian-Turkish talks on Syria, saying that the memorandum of understanding "respects the interests of all parties involved and encourages the restoration of sovereignty. and the territorial integrity of Syria ". The two leaders also expressed hope that the first meeting of the Syrian Constitutional Committee to be held soon will be constructive and productive. In addition, on Thursday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and his German counterpart Heiko Maas had a telephone conversation about the situation in Syria. They agreed that one of the crucial steps in resolving the crisis in that country could be the beginning of the work of the Syrian Constitutional Committee, under the auspices of the United Nations.