Time is up. The 120 hours given for the withdrawal process of the People's Protection Units (YPG) has been already passed. It should be recalled that in its more than 30 years of terror, the PKK, which is a listed terrorist organization by Turkey, the United States and the European Union, has been responsible for the deaths of more than 40,000 people including women, children and the elderly.
The international community should first see these numbers before it starts accusing Turkey for Operation Peace Spring. Turkey is blamed for operating against civilians but it has actually been targeting the PKK and its Syrian affiliate YPG, which have been targeting the civilians over a long period of time in the region.
Turkey’s primary goal is to prevent a planned terror corridor in northern Syria, which is a major threat for its security and the entire region as well. It does not aim to target civilians in the region; quite the contrary, it wants to secure a terror- and violence-free zone and give it back to its authentic inhabitants.
How far is it from this goal? To answer this question, we should look at the details of the Sochi meeting between President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
In the aftermath of the meeting in the Russian town of Sochi on Tuesday, which was widely seen as a historic meeting and will definitely be marked down in history books as well, Turkey and Russia agreed to keep the YPG forces away from the Syrian border with Turkey.
The deal is clear and says that the Syrian regime and Russian forces will immediately oversee a withdrawal of YPG forces, while there will also be joint Turkish-Russian patrols along the border next week.
The cease-fire, which was agreed between the U.S. and Turkey, was set to expire on Tuesday, the day when Presidents Erdoğan and Putin met for six hours. The meeting resulted in an agreement on strengthening the positions of Turkey and Russia in Syria.
It is safe to conclude that the meeting's outcomes were a big victory for Turkey on the Syrian issue. Together with Russia, Turkey has become one of the two key actors in the new era in Syria. If you look at the American press regarding the Syrian developments, you will directly see that unanimously Turkey has been characterized as the winner, while the U.S. position has been weakened; this position has been now filled by Russia. Therefore, in the near future, it can be said that we are likely to see a much stronger Moscow in the Middle East region, which will change the balances of power.
Let’s look at what has been agreed on at the historic Sochi gathering.
The Kremlin has agreed to allow Turkish troops to remain in the area they have taken and retain control. Together with Syrian forces, Russia will move into the area to control the finalization of the retreat.
After the 150-hour deadline expires on Oct. 29, Turkish and Russian troops will begin joint patrols. The deal also says that YPG forces will be removed from Manbij and Tel Rifaat.
The Sochi agreement includes articles upholding Turkey’s border security and the withdrawal of the YPG terrorist elements 30 kilometers away from the border.
So at this point we see that Turkey’s goals have been met and it has managed to stop a terror corridor from being formed on its border despite the resistance coming from most of the world. It should be seen that Turkey is fighting for a united and safer Syria. It doesn’t have, and never has had, an eye on Syrian soil. It just wants a secure neighbor.