More Russian military police arrive in Syria under peace deal with Turkey

More Russian military police arrive in Syria under peace deal with Turkey
More Russian military police arrive in Syria under peace deal with Turkey

Russia sent about 300 moremilitary police and more than 20 armoured vehicles to Syria on Friday under anaccord between Ankara and Moscow that has halted Turkey's military incursioninto northeast Syria.

The deal, sealed on Tuesday byPresidents Tayyip Erdogan and Vladimir Putin, requires that Russian militarypolice and Syrian border guards remove all Kurdish YPG militia from within 30km (19 miles) of the Turkish border by next Tuesday.

The military police, from thesouthern Russian region of Chechnya, will help with the withdrawal of Kurdishforces and their weapons to 30 km of the Syrian-Turkish border, Interfax newsagency reported the defence ministry as saying.

Ankara regards the YPG as aterrorist group aligned with Kurdish militants who have waged an insurgency insoutheast Turkey since 1984.

Turkey launched its offensiveagainst the YPG on Oct. 9 after President Donald Trump ordered U.S. forces outof northeast Syria. Ankara halted its assault under a U.S.-brokered ceasefirethat called for a YPG withdrawal from the border area. The Putin-Erdogan dealbuilt on and widened that agreement.

"The deployment of ourforces and hardware as well as the forces and hardware of the Syrian borderguards is currently taking place in the delineated zones," Kremlinspokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.

He repeated a warning that ifKurdish YPG forces did not withdraw from the border region they would becrushed by Turkey's armed forces.

Under the terms of the deal, fromnext Tuesday Russian and Turkish forces will start to patrol a narrower, 10-kmstrip of land on the Syrian side of the border where U.S. troops had beendeployed for years alongside their former Kurdish allies.

The arrival of the Russian policemarks a shift in the regional balance of power less than three weeks afterTrump began pulling U.S. forces out of northeast Syria.

It has also highlighted a growingsecurity relationship between Russia, a close ally of Syrian President Basharal-Assad and now the dominant power inside Syria, and NATO member Turkey.

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