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Russia: Syria Kurds must abide by agreement with Turkey

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov makes a speech during the 2nd International Forum “Development of Parliamentarism” in Moscow, Russia on 1 July 2019. [Sefa Karacan - Anadolu Agency]
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov makes a speech during the 2nd International Forum “Development of Parliamentarism” in Moscow, Russia on 1 July 2019 [Sefa Karacan/Anadolu Agency]

Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov yesterday called on Syria’s Kurdish forces to abide by the Russia-Turkey agreement on its withdrawal from the safe zone.

“The leaders of the Syrian Kurds must follow the obligations related to the Russian-Turkish memorandum on north-eastern Syria,” Lavrov told reporters in the Russian capital of Moscow.

He warned the Kurds against what he described as “engaging in any suspicious practices,” stressing that relying on United States (US) support “won’t bring them any good.”

Turkey and Russia have backed opposing sides in Syria’s eight-year civil war. Still, they have worked together on several fronts to broker deals between President Bashar Al-Assad’s forces, supported by Moscow, and the opposition, backed by Turkey.

READ: Turkey’s test of Russian weapons system ‘concerning’, says Pompeo

The two countries agreed in 2018 to establish a de-escalation zone in northwestern Syria’s city of Idlib – the last remaining major rebel stronghold and are home to some three million Syrians, some of whom fled violence in other parts of the country.

Referring to the Kurds’ recent claims that Turkey would break the agreement, the Russian official pointed out that his government had “no information” in this regard.

The US and Kurdish-led forces had been together fighting Daesh for years, allowing the Kurds to set up an independent government in eastern Syria.

But the American troops pulled out of most of the country in October, paving the way for Turkey’s offensive against the Kurds. Russia, which backs the Syrian government, helped broker a cease-fire.

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