Turkey, Russia reach deal on ‘terror-free safe zone’

ANKARA: Turkey reached an “excellent” agreement with Russia to establish a “terror-free safe zone” in northern Syria, a senior Turkish official said on Tuesday after President Tayyip Erdogan met Russian President Vladimir Putin in Sochi.
“We had a very productive meeting with our Russian counterparts today,” the official said. “We reached an excellent agreement. We agreed to establish a terror-free safe zone.”
Earlier, a top Kurdish official said that Syria’s Kurds have withdrawn all their forces from a strip of land bordering Turkey in compliance with a US-brokered truce deal to stem a Turkish assault.
“We have fully complied with the conditions of the ceasefire agreement,” Redur Khalil said.
“We have withdrawn all our military and security forces from the area of military operations from Ras al Ain in the east to Tal Abyad in the west,” he said.
Turkey and its Syrian affiliates on October 9 launched a cross-border attack against Kurdish fighters in northeastern Syria after an announced US military pullout.
Turkey wants to set up a buffer zone on Syrian soil along the length of its southern frontier, to keep Kurdish forces it views as “terrorists” at bay.

A US-brokered truce agreement announced last Thursday requires Kurdish forces to withdraw from the area by late on Tuesday.
“We have renewed the separation lines between us and the Turks east of Ras al Ain on one side and west of Tal Abyad on the other,” Khalil said.