Russia announced that its troops were patrolling areas between the Turkish and Syrian militaries after the United States withdrew its troops from northern Syria, The Washington Post reports.
The Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement that its military police were patrolling “along the line of contact between the Syrian Arab Republic and Turkey,” adding that the Russian government was “interacting” with Turkey’s government.
A US official told the Post that troops had withdrawn from the area in Manbij, where Syrian state television showed government troops entering the town. Turkey has vowed to seize Manbij.
Kurds struck deal with war criminal Assad after US pullout:
Kurdish forces in northern Syria, who Turkey has considered a terror threat for years, struck an agreement with the government of Bashar al-Assad, who is considered a war criminal by the United States, following Trump’s pullout from the region.
“The deal would allow Syrian government forces to take over security in some border areas, according to Syrian Kurdish officials, who said their administration would maintain control of local institutions,” The Post reported.
The fighting has already displaced thousands. The United Nations estimates that as many as 160,000 have been displaced since Turkey launched its offensive last week. Kurdish officials have said that number is closer to 275,000.
Mercy Corps, an international aid group that had been operating in Syria since 2014, said it was evacuating its staff amid the fighting.
“This is our nightmare scenario,” the group’s leader in Syria, Made Ferguson said in a statement. “There are tens of thousands of people on the run and we have no way of getting to them. We’ve had to pull our international staff out of northeast Syria. We just cannot effectively operate with the heavy shelling, roads closing, and the various and constantly changing armed actors in the areas where we are working.”
US sanctions Turkey:
A week after effectively endorsing Turkey’s invasion of Syria, Trump announced a package of sanctions to punish Turkey for the invasion.
The sanctions are primarily a hike in steel tariffs and a pause in trade talks, Reuters reported. “Trump’s critics derided them as too feeble to have an impact,” according to the outlet.
Turkey’s markets were relatively unaffected from the sanctions.
“Turkey ignored U.S. sanctions and pressed on with its assault on northern Syria on Tuesday, while the Russia-backed Syrian army roared into one of the most hotly contested cities abandoned by U.S. forces in Donald Trump’s retreat,” Reuters reported.