Pence says the SDS “have withdrawn from the relevant area of operations”
MADRID, Oct. 22 (EUROPE PRESS) –
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Tuesday that the United States “did not keep its promises” concerning the agreement reached last week for a temporary ceasefire in Ankara's offensive against Kurdish forces in Syria.
“The promises were not fulfilled. If we make concessions, we pave the way for the terrorists,” said Erdogan, who stressed that Ankara is willing to take the necessary steps to meet its objectives, as reported by the Turkish newspaper 'Daily Sabah' .
“If we reach commitments, we open the way for the terrorist organization,” he said, referring to the Kurdish militia Units of Popular Protection (YPG), the main member of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDS).
However, the office of the vice president of the United States, Mike Pence, has assured that the commander of the SDS, Mazlum Kobani, “has notified that his forces have withdrawn from the relevant area of operations.”
“The vice president applauds this fact and sees it as a compliance with the terms of the agreement of October 17, regarding the withdrawal of the YPG,” said Vice President spokeswoman Katie Waldman, as stated in the CNN television network.
Erdogan's words have arrived hours after Turkey and Russia gave a new 150-hour deadline to Kurdish forces to withdraw from the 'safe zone' demanded by Ankara in northern Syria.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has subsequently read the content of the memorandum of understanding reached during the day, which contemplates joint patrols in the 'safe zone' to ensure that YPGs do not return to this area.
“Starting at noon on October 23, 2019, the Russian Military Police and the Syrian border guard will enter the Syrian side of the border, outside the area of the 'Operation Peace Spring', to facilitate the removal of the elements of the YPG and their weapons in an area of 30 kilometers from the border, which must be completed in 150 hours, “he says.
In this regard, note that “from that moment, joint patrols will begin between Russia and Turkey to the west and east of the area of the 'Operation Peace Spring' with a depth of ten kilometers, with the exception of Qamishli.”
“All the elements of the YPG and their weapons will be removed from Manbij and Tel Rifaat,” he said, adding that “the 'status quo' established in the area of the 'Peace Spring Operation', between Tel Abyad and Ras al Ain, with a depth of 32 kilometers, will be preserved. ”
“Both countries remain committed to the territorial integrity of Syria and the security of Turkey,” Lavrov said in his reading of the agreement, which also states that both countries “remain committed to the fight against terrorism in all its forms.”
Finally, Moscow and Ankara have agreed to create an agency to verify the application of this memorandum and work “to achieve a political solution” to the conflict in Syria and support the work of the constitutional committee, which will write the country's new Magna Carta.
Turkey launched on October 9 the 'Operation Peace Spring', with which it intends to expel from the northeast of Syria the militiamen of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDS), led by the YPG.
On October 17, Turkey agreed with the United States a ceasefire in the area that implies the temporary suspension of its offensive for the SDS militiamen to withdraw their weapons and withdraw leaving the area of northeastern Syria delimited by the Turkish authorities .
However, Ankara maintained its bombings during Friday, which led the SDS to denounce a breach of the agreement and demand the deployment of international observers.
The SDS announced on Sunday that they had completed the evacuation of Ras al Ain militiamen, under the aforementioned agreement, which gave five days for their withdrawal from the security zone, which will cover 440 kilometers of border, to the Iraqi border, and it will enter 32 kilometers on Syrian soil.