A Russian-Turkish agreement on "coordination" in Syria after the US decision to withdraw

Russia and Turkey agreed on Saturday to coordinate their field moves in Syria after a decision by the United States to withdraw troops from northern Syria.


US President Donald Trump's decision to withdraw from Syria has changed the positions of the parties involved in the complex Syrian war. Faced with fears of a possible Turkish attack on them as a result of the sudden US position, the Syrian Kurds asked for help from the Syrian army, who entered some locations near the northern city of Manbij.


The Turkish delegation visited Moscow on Saturday and held talks with the foreign and defense ministers of the two countries as well as a number of intelligence officials.


"We have agreed to continue the coordination of Russian and Turkish military representatives in line with the new situation in order to eradicate the terrorist threat in Syria," Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said at the end of the talks in the Russian capital.


Turkish Foreign Minister Mouloud Zhaoshoglu said: "We discussed ways to coordinate our joint work in the framework of the departure of American forces." We have the common desire to clean up Syrian territory from any terrorist organization. "


Lavrov also expressed his "optimism" after the talks, in which the ministers of defense of the two countries, Khulosi Akkar and Sergei Schweigu, took part.


The talks come just after US President George W. Bush announced last week his decision to withdraw US troops from Syria.


In the first reference to the coup d'état as a result of the new US resolution, the Syrian regime entered an area north of Manbaj at the invitation of Kurdish forces, which are particularly concerned about the attack by Turkish troops.


It is the first time in six years that regime forces have entered an area near Manbaj, driven by a series of military victories over the recent period, and steps that suggest the dismantling of the diplomatic isolation imposed on the Syrian regime.


Turkey has condemned the deployment of Syrian troops near Manbaj, saying that the Kurdish forces are not entitled to call for them.


On the other hand, the Kremlin found the move "positive" and contributed to the "stability of the situation" in this region.


An AFP correspondent in the city of Manbaj said Saturday he had found no trace of Syrian soldiers in the city, while local Kurdish forces were on the alert and were reinforcing their positions in the strategic city near the border with Turkey.


It is known that Russia, Iran and Turkey launched the path of Astana in January 2017 in an attempt to settle the Syrian conflict, in the absence of Washington. This process has largely marginalized the Geneva process, which was under the auspices of the United Nations.


The path of Astana does not seem to be making progress towards ending the Syrian conflict, which has killed more than 360,000 people since 2011.


"As we have been doing so far, we will continue to work actively and coordinate with our Russian and Iranian colleagues to speed up the political settlement in Syria," Zhaoshoglu said at the conclusion of the Moscow meeting.


Russia and Turkey also promised to cooperate to facilitate the return of Syrian refugees to their homes and to provide humanitarian assistance to them, as well as to continue to work for the establishment of a demilitarized zone in Idlib (northwest), where the last location of the armed opposition and jihadist factions.


Moscow has previously confirmed that a trilateral summit will bring together the presidents of Russia, Iran and Turkey at the beginning of 2019 in Russia, without setting a date yet.


The last summit between the three countries was held last September in Iran.


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