Under New Ceasefire With Turkey, Russia Will Expel Kurds From Syrian Border

Russian, Syrian forces to enter safe zone, get Kurds out in 150 hours

With the US-Turkey ceasefire in northeast Syria coming to an end on Tuesday night, Turkey accused the US of failing. Fighting isn’t immediately resuming, however, as Turkey reached a second ceasefire deal with Russia, this time a 150 hour one.

The terms of the new deal are broadly similar, and Kurd-centric. Under the new deal, Russia is promising that Russian military police and Syrian border forces will enter the safe zone to facilitate the expelling of the Kurdish YPG by the end.

The US had promised to get the YPG out of the area by the end of the previous deal. Kurdish officials claimed nearly 800 fighters had left the area, and that this was all of them. That seems to have been good enough for the US, but Turkey’s President Erdogan says 1,200 more are still there, and those are what Russian forces are to get out.

This deal, like the US deal, is intended to keep northeastern Syria from erupting into full-scale war, and likely is intended to also keep Turkey from attacking Kobane and Manbij, cities that the YPG already ceded to the Syrian government.

The ceasefire explicitly mentions Manbij, and the importance of getting the YPG out of there. Though the US has denied that any Kurds were in the Arab-majority city, Turkey claimed at least one Kurdish attack was launched directly out of the city recently, and clearly the Erdogan government isn’t inclined to believe the US.

Turkey seems to appreciate that the expulsion of the Kurds is no small feat, and trying to do it themselves would be internationally condemned, which is why they are choosing to let the US, and now Russia, do it for them.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of Antiwar.com.