The Kurdish ”Self-Administration,” which operates in northern and northeastern Syria, announced the start of the withdrawal of YPG fighters from the area near the border with Turkey.
On Tuesday, the administration issued a statement in which it said that, within the framework of the first stage of the Turkish-American agreements, a group of People’s Protection Unit (YPG) fighters and heavy weapons were withdrawn from the Sari Kani area (Ras al-Ayn) to new points, and that some dirt barricades were taken down in the area.
The statement added that the same previous measures had been repeated in the Tel Abyad area in the northern Raqqa countryside with positions handed over to local forces operating there.
Turkey and the United States reached an agreement on Aug. 7, 2019, to set up a safe zone in Syria, with the agreement stipulating the establishment of a joint operations center in the province of Sanliurfa in Turkey, in order to administer and coordinate operations in the safe zone. The two sides agreed to take the first steps to remove “Turkish security concerns” on their southern border and to make the safe zone a “peace corridor” in order to ensure the “safe” return of Syrian refugees and the displaced.
On Saturday, Turkey announced the start of work of a joint operations room with the United States, with the implementation of the first steps on the field beginning with the establishment of a safe zone in northern Syria.
On Friday, the American Central Command (CENTCOM) said that the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) had taken down some fortifications in northeastern Syria, saying on Twitter that the step came after a phone call on Wednesday between Turkish Defense Hulusi Akar and American Secretary of Defense Mark Esper.
The area which the YPG withdrew from—from Ras al-Ayn to Tel Abyad—is distinguished by being majority Arab, unlike other border areas with Turkey, which are majority Kurdish.
The SDF said that there were indirect negotiations with Turkey around the safe zone. This was said by the SDF general military commander, Mazloum Abadi, on Saturday, who added, “The meetings between north and eastern Syria and the Turkish state are continuing with the aim of resolving the problems.”
The Turks and Americans have not yet established the depth of the safe zone, with the differences between them revolving around the depth of the zone, the removal of Kurdish YPG and the withdrawal of heavy weapons.
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.