Russia deploys forces to Syria following deal
Offensive: Kurds warned by Kremlin
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.