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International Concerns: Russian troops in Syria

Russia deploys troops on Syrian border as part of deal with Turkey – (Russian troops in Syria)

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In News:

  • Russian forces have begun to deploy towards the Turkey-Syria border, as part of deal to remove Kurdish troops.

Russian troops in Syria
Map Illustration

News Summary:

  • Under the deal agreed by Russia and Turkey, Kurdish fighters were set a deadline to pull back 30 km (18 miles) along the border.
  • It was agreed that Russian and Syrian forces would oversee the Kurdish pullback in an area from the Euphrates river, just east of Manbij right up to the Iraqi border in the east.
  • Russian forces have now begun to deploy towards the Turkey-Syria border, with units entering the two key border towns of Kobane and Manbij.
  • Kurdish forces in northeastern Syria left several positions along the long border with Turkey on Oct 24, complying with the Russian deal.
  • Turkish troops will continue to control an area they took during a recent offensive against the Kurdish fighters, between the towns of Ras al-Ain and Tal Abyad.
  • Part of Turkey’s plan is also to create a “safe zone” along the border that will house some two million of the Syrian refugees it hosts.

Background:

  • The Syrian Civil war that began in 2011 gave rise to the terrorist outfit Islamic State (IS).
  • The US troops had been supporting the Kurdish fighters, who have been allies in the fight against the Islamic State (IS) group in the region.
  • With IS having been declared defeated, the US President decided to withdraw the country’s troops to fight the expensive war in Syria.
  • With US withdrawing from Northern Syria, Turkish forces have launched an attack against the Kurds there. Turkey said it is doing it to allow for the settling of Syrian refugees in Turkey as well as to prevent the hostile Kurds from having territory at its border.
  • Faced with the US withdrawal and the Turkish attacks, the Kurds in northeastern Syria have signed a deal with Russian-backed Syrian government for deploying troops in the region.
  • The Kurdish authorities handed over control of Kobani to the Syrian government in order to stop Turkish-led forces from making further gain.

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Related Articles: International Concerns: (Shift in Syria), International Bytes: (Syria, Withdrawl of US Forces)

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