Turkey agrees to withdraw troops from Syria after Moscow talks – media – RT World News
Tripartite negotiations involving Ankara and Damascus were the first of their kind since the start of the Syrian conflict in 2011
Turkey agreed to completely withdraw its troops from northern Syria following tripartite talks involving Moscow, Ankara and Damascus earlier this week, Syrian newspaper Al-Watan reported.
Defense ministers from the three countries – Hulusi Akar, Ali Mahmoud Abbas and Sergei Shoigu – met in Moscow on Wednesday for the first such meeting since the outbreak of the Syrian conflict in 2011.
According to the newspaper’s source in Damascus, the negotiations resulted in « Turkey’s consent to completely withdraw its troops from the Syrian territories it occupies in the north of the country. »
Ankara and Damascus have also expressed a common view that the Syrian-based Kurdish YPG militia, which Turkey associates with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), has banned, « are agents of Israel and the United States and pose a serious threat to both Turkey and Syria. »
Türkiye views the separatist PKK and allied Kurdish groups as « terrorist organizations » that threaten its national security. The Turkish military carried out airstrikes against YPG targets in northern Syria in November, with Ankara saying a ground operation in the area was also being considered.
A special trilateral commission will be created by Russia, Turkey and Syria to ensure that the agreements reached in Moscow are honoured, Al-Watan reported.
Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar told local media on Saturday that « You shouldn’t expect everything to be resolved all at once in one meeting. »
In Moscow, Turkey « stressed that we respect the territorial integrity and sovereign rights of Syria, and that our only objective is the fight against terrorism » including the PKK/YPG and the Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS), he said.
Ankara and Damascus agreed to continue talks to deepen reconciliation, Akar added. He also hinted that these negotiations could even lead to a joint counter-terrorism operation involving the two countries, which would happen. “if we can solve our defense and security problems, if we can meet our needs.
Turkish Defense Minister speaks out on Syria after Moscow talks
The Syrian side previously described the meeting in the Russian capital as « positive, » while the Russian Defense Ministry said the talks had been conducted constructively and stressed the need for continued such engagement.