The meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Sochi on the eve lasted more than six hours and ended with an agreement on the delimitation in Syria. Here’s how the world evaluates its results.
Washington: President Donald Trump tentatively assessed what was happening as “good news,” and his subordinates wrote down the agreed conclusion of the Kurdish forces on their achievements. “We received a message from the commander of the Syrian defence forces that all of their armed forces were withdrawn from the security zone under Turkish military control … Thanks to the strong leadership of President Donald Trump, we have the possibility of a permanent ceasefire,” said US Vice President Mike Penny.
Good news seems to be happening with respect to Turkey, Syria and the Middle East. Further reports to come later!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 22, 2019
CNN: “Washington lost the most in the geopolitical sense of the agreement. The hasty departure of the Americans, who left the Kurds unprotected, became a real gift to Putin: Russian journalists wandering around abandoned American bases milked this reason to the bottom, giving it as the beginning of the end of American influence. The agreement only added disgrace, and Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu directly demanded that the Americans leave Syria in an hour and a half, ”said Nathan Hodge, head of CNN’s Moscow bureau.
USA Today: “Putin’s deal with Erdogan on joint control of a key section of the border zone provided Russia with a key bridgehead in the Middle East under the vacuum created by the US withdrawal.”
Business Insider: “The agreement made Putin one of the main forces determining the future of Syria – the role that the United States once played.” “Humiliation is too weak a word to describe what we experience as American military personnel,” the publication quoted one of the officers of the coalition forces.
Financial Times: “Putin, dismembering Syria and luxuriously accepted in the Gulf countries, has become a growing force in the Middle East. But Russia is already realizing that a warm welcome here is much simpler than hard currency,” said Henry Foy, head of the FT Moscow bureau.
Carving up Syria and feted in the Gulf, Vladimir Putin is a rapidly rising Middle East power. But Russia is finding that warm welcomes are easier to secure than cold, hard cash https://t.co/ybrx99FJIV via @financialtimes
— Henry Foy (@HenryJFoy) October 23, 2019
Al Jazeera: writes that the Kurds were “betrayed twice.” Team leaders have not yet spoken out about new agreements.
Vladimir Putin called the decisions “fateful,” and Erdogan said that now “the main goal of the countries is to strengthen the stable environment.” The Kremlin, in the person of Dmitry Peskov, accused the United States of betraying the Kurds, who might fall under the rink of the Turkish army.
What happened in Syria
- On the night of October 9, shortly after the US decision on the final withdrawal of its troops from Syria, Turkey launched the ground source military operation “Source of Peace” in the north-east of this country. Erdogan’s goal was to create a 30-kilometre security zone along the Turkish border, free from the Kurdish YPG militias that are considered terrorist in Turkey.
- The very first days of the operation showed that Kurdish forces are not able to withstand the regular army: on the second or third day, Turkish troops reached the key cities of Manbij and Tal Rifat. The Kurds began negotiations with the central authorities of Syria through the mediation of Moscow.
- The agreement resulted in a temporary demarcation in Syria: the Syrian Arab Army and the Russian military police occupy Kurdish areas along the border, including key settlements, the Turkish offensive de facto stops.
- A week later, the United States and Turkey entered into an agreement whereby Erdogan stops the operation for 5 days, while Kurdish troops leave the security zone at this time.
- This deadline expired on the very day of the talks between Putin and Erdogan on October 22. Erdogan threatened to resume hostilities.
What leaders agreed
- Turkish forces remain in the 120-kilometre (front) border zone between Tel Abyad and Ras al-Ain, but will not advance further into Syria. The night before, the Kurds announced that they had already left this zone. In addition, Kurds must leave those who did not fall into the zone of Manbij and Tal Rifat.
- Units of the Russian military police and the Syrian border service will arrive in the 30-kilometre zone. They will have to control the withdrawal from the zone of Kurdish formations, which have 150 hours to do so. We are talking about the entire border zone from Efrat in the west to the Iranian border in the east.
- After this deadline, expiring on October 29, Russian and Turkish forces will jointly patrol a 10-km-deep zone adjacent to the Syrian-Turkish border.
- Putin and Erdogan said they were ready to work together to create a new Syrian constitution and expressed their commitment to “the political unity and territorial integrity of Syria.”