Russia, Turkey reach deal on Syria border

Russia and Turkey have agreed to ensure Kurdish forces withdraw from areas close to Syria's border with Turkey and to launch joint patrols, AFP reported Wednesday (October 23rd).

After talks in the Russian city of Sochi, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin announced the deal late Tuesday just hours ahead of a deadline for Turkey to restart its assault on Syrian Kurdish forces.

As the evening deadline passed, Turkey said there was "no need" to relaunch the offensive.

In a cross-border offensive that began October 9th, Turkey seized control of a "safe zone" inside Syria about 120 kilometres long and 32 kilometres deep.

Tuesday's agreement with Moscow will see it preserve that zone between the towns of Tal Abyad and Ras al-Ain.

From noon Wednesday, Russian military police and Syrian border guards will "facilitate the removal" of Kurdish fighters and their weapons from within 30 kilometres of the border.

This withdrawal must be finalised within 150 hours, according to a text of the agreement released after the talks.

Russian and Turkish forces will then begin joint patrols along the Turkish-controlled zone.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the area of the "safe zone" was calm late Tuesday.

US President Donald Trump on Wednesday hailed the deal as a "big success".

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