Russia reached a deal with Turkey to expel Kurdish fighters from a part of northern Syria south of Turkey’s border after President Vladimir Putin swooped in to fill the void left after Trump’s troop withdrawal from the region.
Putin met with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for an hours-long meeting Tuesday, where they agreed to allow Russia and Turkey to control the territory previously held by US-backed Kurds, The Washington Post reports.
The deal also allows Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to control more territory in Syria. “Russia is also prodding states in the region to recognize, either explicitly or tacitly, the Syrian government’s authority,” The Post reported.
The deal follows another deal with the US, where the Trump administration agreed to lift sanctions and clear a 20-mile deep area along Turkey’s border of Kurdish fighters.
Trump says ‘good news’:
Trump, who has been slammed by both parties for abandoning America’s allies, declared that everything along the Turkish border in Syria is a “big success.”
“Safe Zone created! Ceasefire has held and combat missions have ended. Kurds are safe and have worked very nicely with us. Captured ISIS prisoners secured,” he wrote.
This would be news to Trump’s envoy to Syria, who testified yesterday that Turkish forces committed war crimes and that hundreds of Kurdish fighters have already been killed. He also said that dozens of ISIS prisoners have escaped.
Envoy describes horrific situation in northern Syria:
"We would say that Turkish-supported Syrian opposition forces who were under general Turkish command in at least one instance did commit a war crime,” Trump’s special envoy to Syria, Ambassador James Jeffrey, told Congress on Tuesday, according to NPR.
Ilham Ahmed, a president of the Syrian Democratic Council, said at a news conference with US lawmakers Monday that his people had been “promised by the United States… that we would not be subjected to genocide.”
“We only want them to keep their promises," she said. "Turkey is attacking us currently and we are subjected to ethnic cleansing."