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Tue Oct 15, 2019, 09:05 AM

Russia patrolling between Turkish and Syrian forces after U.S. troops withdraw


Russian and Syrian national flags flutter on military vehicles near Manbij, Syria Oct. 15, 2019. (Omar Sanadiki/Reuters)

By Kareem Fahim, Sarah Dadouch and Erin Cunningham

Oct. 15, 2019 at 7:31 a.m. EDT

ISTANBUL — Russia announced on Tuesday that its units were patrolling between the Turkish and Syrian militaries near the northern Syrian town of Manbij, in a sign that Moscow, a key ally of the Syrian government, was moving to fill a security vacuum after U.S. troops were withdrawn from the area.

A Russian Defense Ministry statement said that military police in northwestern Manbij were patrolling “along the line of contact between the Syrian Arab Republic and Turkey.” The statement said the Russian military was also “interacting” with Turkey’s government.

A U.S. official said late Monday that U.S. troops had withdrawn from Manbij. Early Tuesday, Syrian state television reported that government troops had entered the town, airing video footage of what it said were residents celebrating the arrival of Syrian forces in the center of Manbij.

Syrian troops loyal to Assad enter town near border with Turkey
Syrian Arab News Agency, a state media outlet, shared video Oct. 14 showing Syrian troops entering the border town of Tal Tamr after a deal was reached. (SANA)
The developments come a day after the Syrian Kurds announced that they had struck an agreement with the government of President Bashar al-Assad aimed at blunting a nearly week-long Turkish government offensive into Kurdish-held territory in northern Syria.

In the Middle East, there’s one country every side talks to: Russia

The deal would allow Syrian government forces to take over security in some border areas, according to Syrian Kurdish officials, who said their administration would maintain control of local institutions.


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