Rus­sia de­ploys forces to Syria fol­low­ing deal

Of­fen­sive: Kurds warned by Krem­lin

The Press and Journal (Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire) - - WORLD NEWS - BY SUZAN FRASER

Rus­sian mil­i­tary po­lice have be­gun pa­trols on part of the Syr­ian bor­der.

The move came as they quickly im­ple­mented an ac­cord with Tur­key that di­vides con­trol of north-eastern Syria.

The Krem­lin told Kur­dish fight­ers to pull back from the en­tire fron­tier or else they would face be­ing “steam­rolled” by Turk­ish forces.

Turk­ish pres­i­dent Re­cep Tayyip Er­do­gan and Rus­sian pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin have reached an agree­ment to trans­form the map of north-east Syria, in­stalling their forces along the bor­der and fill­ing the void left by the abrupt with­drawal of Amer­i­can troops.

The Kur­dish fight­ers, who once re­lied on the US forces as pro­tec­tion from Tur­key, were given a dead­line of next Tues­day to pull back from bor­der ar­eas they have not al­ready left.

Iraq, mean­while, closed the door on the US mil­i­tary’s at­tempt to keep their troops who were leav­ing Syria on its soil.

Iraqi de­fence min­is­ter Na­jah al-Sham­mari said that those troops were only “tran­sit­ing” Iraq and would leave within four weeks, head­ing ei­ther to Kuwait, Qatar or the United States.

Mr al-Sham­mari spoke after meet­ing US de­fence sec­re­tary Mark Esper, who ear­lier this week had said the Amer­i­can forces from Syria would re­main in Iraq to fight the so-called Is­lamic State (IS). Iraq’s mil­i­tary said they did not have per­mis­sion to do so.

The clumsy re­ver­sal un­der­scored the blow to US in­flu­ence on the ground in the wake of pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s order for US troops to leave Syria.

Those forces were al­lied to the Kur­dish-led fight­ers for five years in the cam­paign that brought down IS in Syria.

Now a sig­nif­i­cant swathe of the ter­ri­tory they cap­tured is be­ing handed over to US ri­vals, and the Kurds have been stung at be­ing aban­doned to face the Turk­ish in­va­sion launched on Oc­to­ber 9.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.