Russian military police began their first patrols in Syria near the border with Turkey, east of the Euphrates, while its Defense Minister Sergey Shoygu, spoke with the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) commander to coordinate the implementation of the Turkish-Russian agreement, which was announced on Tuesday after a long meeting in Sochi between Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin.
On Wednesday, the Defense Ministry in Moscow said that a Russian patrol had left for the Turkish-Syrian border, announcing that it intended to set up a military base in the border city of Ayn al-Arab (Kobani) in the eastern Aleppo countryside.
During an interview with the Russia 24 channel, a spokesman for the Russian forces in Syria said: “A unit of Russian military police at 12:00 p.m. began patrols along the Syrian-Turkish border.”
The same spokesman added that these patrols were implemented as part of the memorandum of understanding between his country and Turkey after the developments that followed Turkey’s launch of “Operation Peace Spring” against the SDF, adding that Moscow intended to establish a military base in the town of Ayn al-Arab (Kobani).
According to Russian media, the spokesman said: “We are now two kilometers from Ayn al-Arab (Kobani). A Russian military police unit from the Russian Armed Forces will be deployed in this base and carry out patrols.”
Russia informs the SDF
Coinciding with that, Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoygu spoke on Wednesday through closed TV circuit with SDF commander Mazloum Abadi to discuss coordination of the Turkish-Russia deal, which stipulates the withdrawal of these forces from areas east of the Euphrates away from the Turkish border at a depth of 30-32 kilometers.
According to the statement by the Defense Ministry in Moscow, Shoygu informed Abadi that Russian military police and “Syrian border guard forces” would deploy in Syrian areas, agreed upon in the Turkish-Russian memorandum of understanding. They also discussed the progress of the SDF implementing these items.
The Russian-Turkish deal reached on Tuesday evening stipulates the SDF withdrawing with its forces within 150 hours from the Syrian border regions with Turkey east of the Euphrates at a depth of 30 kilometers, with the Turkish and Russian armies then carrying out joint patrols at a depth of 10 kilometers along the border east of the Euphrates, except the areas between Ras al-Ayn and Tel Abyad, which will be administered by the Turkish side.
Moscow had warned the SDF that they would face a new Turkish attack if they did not fully withdraw from the northeastern Syria border area in accordance with the Turkish-Russian agreement.
Dmitry Peskov, Kremlin spokesman, said that if the SDF did not withdraw then the Syrian border guards with Russian military police would be forced to pull back and “the remaining Kurdish units would then fall under the mercy of the Turkish army.”
The Russian official criticized Washington, saying that the Americans, “now prefer to leave the Kurds on the border and almost force them to fight the Turks.”
This article was translated and edited by The Syrian Observer. The Syrian Observer has not verified the content of this story. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.