Russia agreed on Tuesday to help Turkey’s military push Syrian Kurdish fighters out of a large expanse of territory along Syria’s northern border, starting Wednesday. The deal was reached at a meeting between Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Russia’s Vladimir Putin at a Russian resort on the Black Sea.
The agreement “cemented Russia’s role as Syria’s central power broker, at a moment when the influence of the United States in the region is dissipating,” says the Washington Post.
Moscow is now the powerbroker in the Middle East as Trump has rendered the US irrelevant. Putin has temporarily ceded Erdogan a buffer zone from which he can displace Kurdish inhabitants (aka ethnic cleansing) in return for recognition of Moscow's diktat. https://t.co/Ki4Gbokw4w— Michael Carpenter (@mikercarpenter) October 22, 2019
Earlier this month President Trump ordered U.S. forces to withdraw from Syria’s embattled northeast, abandoning its Kurdish allies, who were crucial to the fight against the barbarous Islamic State (ISIS), and which could now rise again. Trump says the U.S. has no responsibility to protect the Kurds.
A large convoy of U.S. military vehicles left Syria on Monday and crossed into Iraq, which says it does not want them. Along the way in Syria, the convoy was targeted by angry Kurds accusing the Americans of betrayal, and hurling potatoes and rocks at the armored vehicles.
The Putin-Erdogan deal says that areas left as the Kurds flee will be resettled by refugees from Syria’s civil war now in Turkey.
“That suggests a bleak future for Syria’s Kurds,” says the Huffington Post. “Tens of thousands have already fled their homes out of fear of the Turkish military and the Syrian Arab forces working with the Turks.”
And now they face the Russians.
WATCH: Erdogan and Putin announce strike joint deal to control parts of Syria border as current ceasefire expires #MTPDaily@RichardEngel: "President Erdogan and Vladimir Putin today in Russia carved up northern Syria between them." pic.twitter.com/WXTnbmfxJK— Meet the Press (@MeetThePress) October 22, 2019