World, Europe

Moscow praises Russian-Turkish memorandum on Syria

Russia says situation in northeast Syria 'under control' thanks to Russian-Turkish efforts

Elena Teslova   | 01.11.2019
Moscow praises Russian-Turkish memorandum on Syria

MOSCOW

The situation in northeast Syria is "under control" thanks to the Russian-Turkish efforts, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Friday.

"In the northeast of Syria, the situation was brought under control after the Russian-Turkish memorandum signed in Sochi on Oct. 22.

In accordance with the agreements, the Russian military police began joint patrols with the Turks of the 10-kilometer [6.2-mile] security zone along the Syrian-Turkish border," Zakharova said, speaking at a news conference in Volgograd, adding that YPG/PKK terrorists pulled back 30 kilometers [18.6 miles] south of Turkish-Syrian border.

According to her assessment, despite some clashes in several regions of the country, the Syrians have been returning to a more peaceful life.

"Since July 2017, some 450,000 Syrian refugees returned to the country, and 1,300,000 internally displaced people to their permanent places of residence," Zakharova said.

She accused the U.S. of "illegal and abusive actions" in Syria, saying Washington "smuggles" $30-million-worth Syrian oil per month.

"The modern international community cannot help but raise questions when a civilized state, which endlessly declares its commitment to certain democratic values, international legal principles in international relations, pumps oil from the fields in northeast Syria.

"Let me remind you, a sovereign state, covering its -- and this is called criminal activity -- so, covering its criminal activity with some pretexts of the fight against Daesh [Daesh/ISIS]," she added.

Zakharova reminded that according to Washington's own statement, Daesh/ISIS was destroyed in Syria in May 2019.

"The U.S. bypasses its own sanctions by smuggling the Syrian oil and it is not going to leave oil-field areas in the foreseeable future," she said.

Turning to the political aspect of the Syrian conflict, Zakharova welcomed the launch of the Syrian Constitutional Committee, saying it was possible with the efforts of Russia, Iran and Turkey.

"We consider the establishment of the Constitutional Committee and the beginning of its work with the decisive assistance of the Astana format an unconditional achievement, first of all, of the Syrian people.

We understand that the formation of the committee will not solve, in one stroke, all the accumulated problems, but it will allow all Syrian parties, namely the government, opposition and representatives of civil society, for the first time in years of the crisis, to sit down at the negotiating table to determine the future of their country, which is particularly important in the context of continued tensions in Syria," she said.

On Oct. 9, Turkey launched Operation Peace Spring to eliminate terrorists from northern Syria east of the Euphrates River in order to secure Turkey’s borders, aid in the safe return of Syrian refugees, and ensure Syria’s territorial integrity.

On Oct. 22, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin held a meeting in Russia's Black Sea resort town of Sochi.

Ankara and Moscow reached a deal under which YPG/PKK terrorists will pull back 30 kilometers (18.6 miles) south of Turkey’s border with northern Syria within 150 hours, and security forces from Turkey and Russia will conduct joint patrols there.

In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK -- listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the European Union -- has been responsible for the deaths of 40,000 people, including women, children and infants. The YPG is the Syrian offshoot of the PKK.

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