Kurds Withdraw From Syrian Border Town

Turkish-Backed Rebels Say There are Still Kurdish Fighters There

The Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) said on Sunday that they have fully withdrawn from the Syrian town of Ras al-Ain as part of the ceasefire deal with Turkey, brokered by the U.S. A spokesman for the SDF said they “don’t have any more fighters in the city.”

Ras al-Ain is one of two towns on the Syrian-Turkish border that have been under attack by Turkish forces. The ceasefire, agreed to on Thursday, was made to give the SDF five days to withdraw forces from the “safe zone” Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan wants to keep clear of Kurdish fighters.

The ceasefire seems to be largely holding, although there have been reports of sporadic fighting over the last couple days.

Turkey’s defense ministry said on Sunday that a convoy of 86 vehicles left the Syrian border town and headed south.

A spokesman for the Turkish-backed rebels in the area, disputed the SDF claim and told Reuters that the Kurdish fighters have “not yet completely” pulled out of Ras al-Ain.

The rebels are mostly made up of militias that have fought the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad over the past eight years. If the ceasefire holds and the SDF withdraws from the area, Assad’s forces will likely move in, something these rebels may want to avoid.

Author: Dave DeCamp

Dave DeCamp is assistant editor at Antiwar.com and a freelance journalist based in Brooklyn NY, focusing on US foreign policy and wars. He is on Twitter at @decampdave.