The Putin-Erdogan deal gives Russia a critical foothold in the Middle East, amid a power vacuum created by the U.S. withdrawal. Under the agreement, Russia and Turkey agreed to work together to remove Kurdish fighters from a 20-mile zone in northern Syria.
Once the cease-fire deadline passes at approximately 3 p.m. ET, the Turkish forces will either “let us know (the Kurds are gone) or they will shoot them when they find them,” this official said. But he quickly added, “we don’t think that’s going to happen….We think Turkey in the end will agree that the withdrawal has taken place. This means the Turkish pause becomes Turkish halt in military operations.”
Earlier on Tuesday, Erdogan said that 1,300 Syrian Kurdish fighters had yet to vacate a stretch of the border, as required under the deal.
Erdogan warned Tuesday that if the Kurdish fighters do not withdraw, “our offensive will continue from where it left off, with a much greater determination.”
“There is no place for the (Kurdish fighters) in Syria’s future. We hope that with Russia’s cooperation, we will rid the region of separatist terror,” he said.