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Syria welcomes withdrawal of Kurdish forces from border region near Turkey

(Xinhua)    13:16, October 29, 2019

Syrian soldiers are seen upon deploying on the Syrian-Turkish border in the countryside of Qamishli city in al-Hasakah province, northeastern Syria, on Oct. 28, 2019. The Syrian government welcomes the withdrawal of the Kurdish forces from the Syrian-Turkish border, saying this withdrawal will strip Turkey of its pretext to attack northern Syrian areas, the Syrian Foreign Ministry said in a statement Sunday. (Str/Xinhua)

DAMASCUS, Oct. 27 (Xinhua) -- The Syrian government welcomes the withdrawal of the Kurdish forces from the Syrian-Turkish border, saying this withdrawal will strip Turkey of its pretext to attack northern Syrian areas, the Syrian Foreign Ministry said in a statement Sunday.

The ministry said the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) pulled back 30 km from the Syrian-Turkish borderline in coordination with the Syrian army.

The Syrian government will work to embrace its citizens and reintegrate them into the Syrian society to achieve a national unity of Syria and its people, the ministry said.

Earlier in the day, the SDF began withdrawing from the Syrian-Turkish border as part of a recent Russian-Turkish understanding, state news agency SANA reported.

The head of the media office of the SDF was cited by Russia Today TV as saying the SDF withdrawal from the borderline comes after Russia made guarantees to the Kurdish forces.

He said the Syrian forces will be deployed on all the Syrian-Turkish borderline, adding Russia is playing the role of a mediator between the Syrian government and the Kurdish administration in northern Syria.

Over the past couple of days, the Syrian army sent thousands of soldiers to deploy where the Kurdish forces have been pulling out.

On Oct. 9, Turkey launched an operation to clear the Kurdish militia from northern Syria in the east of the Euphrates river to eliminate what Turkey perceives as a threat to its border security, impose a safe zone and resettle millions of Syrian refugees.

On Oct. 13, the Kurdish-led administration in northern Syria said the Syrian army will deploy along the border with Turkey in an agreement with the Kurdish-led administration in northern Syria to help repel a Turkish offensive.

The United States reached a deal with Turkey on Oct. 17, imposing a five-day cease-fire to allow the Kurdish forces to pull back from the planned safe zone that Turkey wants to create in northern Syria.

On Oct. 22, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin held a meeting in Sochi, Russia, agreeing on the parameters of the proposed Turkish safe zone in northern Syria.

The deal stipulates that the Kurdish militia of the SDF and its broader umbrella of the People's Protection Units will pull back 30 km south of Turkey's border within 150 hours.

Joint patrols by Turkish and Russian forces will cover the area, according to the deal.


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