Turkey and Russia have signed a 10-article agreement on Syria after a six-hour meeting between Erdogan and Putin.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and President Vladimir Putin of Russia have announced that they signed on a 10-article agreement, which includes the removal of the People's Defense Units (YPG) from a 30-kilometer deep area on the Syrian side of the border.
The two leaders met in Sochi, Russia today (October 22), accompanied with foreign ministers Mevlut Cavusoglu and Sergey Lavrov. The 24th meeting between Erdogan and Putin since the 2016 coup attempt in Turkey took more than six hours.
'Rights of the Kurds will be defended'
Putin, speaking at a joint press conference after the meeting, said that the Syrian Constitutional Committee will hold its first meeting on October 29, the anniversary of the foundation of the Republic of Turkey. He added that the Kurds will be included in the process of the establishment of a constitution and the committee will "defend the rights of the Kurds."
Putin also stressed that Russia has repeatedly noted that it understands Turkey's desire to take steps to reliably guarantee its national security. "We share the concern of the Turkish side in connection with the intensification of terrorism and the growth of ethnic and religious contradictions in this area."
He remarked that a "durable and long-term" stabilization in Syria can be achieved only if the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the country are respected.
"This is a principled position, and we have discussed this in detail with the President of Turkey. It is important that our partners share this approach," he added.
Turkey and Russia will conduct joint patrols
Erdogan spoke after Putin, announcing that the two countries have reached a "historic" 10-article agreement that includes the removal of the YPG 30 kilometers off the border with Turkey within 150 hours. Russia's military police will ensure the removal of all YPG elements and weapons from the area, according to the agreement.
"All YPG terrorists and their weapons in Tal Rifat and Manbij will be taken out from this region," he said, adding that Turkey will resettle refugees in the region once a "safe zone" is established. Turkey currently hosts 3.6 million Syrian refugees.
The two countries will also establish a mechanism to observe the implementation of the deal and conduct joint patrols, Erdogan noted. The deal will come into effect at 12 p.m. (GMT+3) tomorrow.
Turkey reached a similar agreement with the US on October 17, which will expire at 10 p.m. today. Ankara launched the "Operation Peace Spring" on October 9 into northern Syria, aiming to remove the YPG and the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) from a 32-kilometer deep area and establish a "safe zone" to resettle Syrian refugees who currently reside in Turkey.
Full text of the memorandum
The memorandum was read at the press conference by ministers Lavrov and Cavusoglu in their native languages:
1. The two sides reiterate their commitment to the preservation of the political unity and territorial integrity of Syria and the protection of the national security of Turkey.
2. They emphasize their determination to combat terrorism in all forms and manifestations and to disrupt separatist agendas in the Syrian territory.
3. In this framework, the established status quo in the current Operation Peace Spring area covering Tel Abyad and Ras al-Ayn with a depth of 32 km will be preserved.
4. Both sides reaffirm the importance of the Adana Agreement. The Russian Federation will facilitate the implementation of the Adana Agreement in the current circumstances.
5. Starting 12.00 noon of October 23, 2019, Russian military police and Syrian border guards will enter the Syrian side of the Turkish-Syrian border, outside the area of Operation Peace Spring, to facilitate the removal of YPG elements and their weapons to the depth of 30 km from the Turkish-Syrian border, which should be finalized in 150 hours. At that moment, joint Russian-Turkish patrols will start in the west and the east of the area of Operation Peace Spring with a depth of 10 km, except Qamishli city.
6. All YPG elements and their weapons will be removed from Manbij and Tal Rifat.
7. Both sides will take necessary measures to prevent infiltrations of terrorist elements.
8. Joint efforts will be launched to facilitate the return of refugees in a safe and voluntary manner.
9. A joint monitoring and verification mechanism will be established to oversee and coordinate the implementation of this memorandum.
10. The two sides will continue to work to find a lasting political solution to the Syrian conflict within Astana Mechanism and will support the activity of the Constitutional Committee.
Source: English Bianet