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Turkey agrees to withdraw troops from Syria after Putin intervention

Ankara: Ankara agreed to withdraw troops from Syrian territory following trilateral talks between the defense ministers of Russia, Syria and Turkey in Moscow on Wednesday, Syrian newspaper Al-Watan reported, citing anonymous sources in Damascus.
On December 15, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that he had offered to Russian President Vladimir Putin to hold a meeting between the leaders of Turkey, Russia and Syria, which would be preceded by a meeting of the heads of the intelligence services, defense and foreign ministries. On December 28, the Russian Defense Ministry said that the defense ministers of Russia, Syria and Turkey held trilateral talks in Moscow to discuss ways to resolve the Syrian crisis. The talks marked the first official meeting between Ankara and Damascus in 11 years.
According to the newspaper’s sources, Turkey agreed to withdraw forces from the territories they occupied in northern Syria. Russia, Turkey and Syria also discussed the implementation of the agreement made in 2020 on the opening of the M4 highway linking Aleppo to Latakia, the source said.
The parties reportedly stressed that the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), outlawed in Turkey, was “a proxy of Israel and the United States” and posed “the greatest danger to Syria and Turkey.”
The war in Syria has been ongoing since 2011, with various armed insurgent groups, including terrorist organizations, fighting the Syrian Army in an attempt to topple the government of President Bashar Assad. Since 2016, the Turkish armed forces have also been conducting air and ground operations in Syria against armed Kurdish groups. Moscow and Ankara have been acting as mediators in the conflict within various frameworks, such as the mediation group on the Syrian settlement in Astana launched together with Iran in 2017 or the Congress of the Syrian national dialogue hosted in the Russian city of Sochi in 2018.

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