Joint patrols with Russia to determine whether YPG withdrew - Erdoğan aide

Joint patrols with Russia will determine whether the Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) have withdrawn from northeast Syria,  the Turkish Presidential communications director said on Tuesday. 

The statement by Fahrettin Altun follows that of Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu who earlier on Tuesday said that armed Kurdish forces had withdrawn from the zone near Syria’s northeastern border with Turkey faster than scheduled.

“Turkey and Russia had set a 150-hour deadline for YPG terrorists to leave the safe zone. The time is up. We will establish (the safe zone), through joint patrols, whether or not the terrorists have actually withdrawn,” independent news site T24 quoted Altun as saying.

Following an Oct. 9 Turkish offensive in northeast Syria targeting the Kurdish forces, Russia and Turkey on Tuesday agreed on a plan to push the YPG from a wide swath of territory just south of Turkey’s border. 

Turkey sees the YPG as an existential threat due to its links to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).

The agreement, which gave the YPG 150 hours to withdraw, will leave Turkey and Russia in control of territory formerly held by formerly U.S.-allied Kurdish forces.