US informs Turkey YPG withdrawal complete from designated safe zone in Syria

US informs Turkey YPG withdrawal complete from designated safe zone in Syria
  • Clock-gray 01:59
  • calendar-gray 23 October 2019

U.S. authorities have informed Turkey that People's Protection Units (YPG) terrorists have withdrawn from the designated safe zone area in Northern Syria, Ministry of National Defense (MSB) said in a statement late Tuesday, APA reports citing Daily Sabah.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated in a statement later that U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has confirmed that the YPG retreated.

"Turkey has been sensitive about the agreement with the U.S. envisioning the 120-hour pause of the Operation Peace Spring," the statement said.

Turkey on Oct. 9 launched Operation Peace Spring to eliminate terrorists from northeastern Syria in order to secure Turkey's borders, aid in the safe return of Syrian refugees and ensure Syria's territorial integrity.

Turkish and U.S. delegations reached an agreement recently to pause Turkey's counterterrorism operation in northern Syria for 120 hours, in which the PKK terrorist group's Syrian affiliate YPG was expected to withdraw from the designated safe zone area.

"As of tomorrow, joint work with the Russian Federation will begin within the scope of the agreement reached between the President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and President Vladimir Putin of Russia," the statement added.

"As part of the agreement, there may be no need for another offensive out of our current operation area. Turkey will never allow a terror corridor along its borders," the MSB said.

A senior Turkish official said Turkish and Russian delegations had very productive meetings in Sochi earlier on the same day and had reached an "excellent agreement" regarding the situation in northern Syria.

In 2017, the Astana peace process to end the Syrian conflict was spearheaded by Turkey, Russia and Iran in Nur-Sultan (formerly Astana), Kazakhstan's capital, and since then it has seen over a dozen meetings.

Syria has been locked in a vicious civil war since early 2011, when the Bashar Assad regime cracked down on pro-democracy protests with unexpected ferocity.

Since then, over 5 million civilians have become refugees. Turkey hosts 3.6 million of them, the most any country does in the world.

Faig Mahmudov

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