The presidents of Russia and Turkey said they reached agreements on a cease-fire to take effect at midnight Thursday in northwestern Syria, where escalating fighting had threatened to put forces from the two countries into a direct military conflict.
Turkey said it retaliated Monday after “intense” shelling by Syrian forces killed five of its soldiers and wounded five others in Syria’s northern Idlib province, a marked escalation a week after a similarly deadly clash between the two sides.
Russian military police began patrols on part of the Syrian border Wednesday, quickly moving to implement an accord with Turkey that divvies up control of northeastern Syria. The Kremlin told Kurdish fighters to pull back from the entire frontier or else face being “steamrolled” by Turkish forces.
The leaders of Russia and Turkey announced an agreement Turkey for their two countries’ forces to jointly patrol almost the entire northeastern Syrian border after the withdrawal of Kurdish fighters. The deal would seal the two countries’ power in Syria, filling the void left by departing American troops after President Donald Trump abruptly ordered their withdrawal.
Syria's Kurds accused the U.S. of turning its back on its allies and risking gains made in the fight against the Islamic State group as American troops began pulling back on Monday from positions in northeastern Syria ahead of an expected Turkish assault.
Turkey accused the United States on Tuesday of taking only "cosmetic steps" toward the creation of a so-called "safe zone" in northeast Syria and renewed Ankara's threat of unilateral military intervention to form a buffer area along its border.