Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan held talks in Sochi [AP]
The leaders of Turkey and Russia have agreed to set up an Ankara-ruled “safe zone” in northeast Syria and run joint patrols around the area, hours before a five-day truce between Turkish and Kurdish-led forces ended in the region.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, held talks in Sochi on Tuesday regarding the security situation in northeast Syria following the launch of Turkey‘s operation on October 9 aimed at driving Kurdish-led fighters Ankara considers “terrorists” from the border area.
After marathon talks, Erdogan said a deal had been reached with Russia for the Kurdish fighters to move out of the region within 150 hours.
The two leaders agreed for Ankara to control a 32km-wide (20 miles) safe zone between the towns of Tal Abyad and Ras al-Ain, which covers 120km (75 miles) of the Turkish-Syrian border.
The Turkish and Russian forces will also run joint patrols 10km (six miles) to the east and west of the “safe zone”, according to the deal announced in Sochi.
The announcement came hours before the expiration of a United States-brokered truce agreed last week which sought to allow the withdrawal of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) from the border areas.
The ceasefire is due to end at 10pm local time (19:00 GMT) and the government in Turkey repeatedly said that the offensive would restart right away if the SDF did not withdraw from the region.
More to follow.