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A man is flying the Turkish flag near the border, facing the Syrian city of Ras al-Ain, on October 19, 2019. Ozan KOSE / AFP

In northern Syria, the time allowed by the Turkish army to Kurdish forces to withdraw from border areas expires Tuesday evening, October 22. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan still threatens to resume hostilities if he believes that the agreement was not respected. He is expected in Sochi by his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin to negotiate the terms of the vast security zone wanted by Turkey along its border.

With our correspondent in Istanbul, Anne Andlauer

The countdown has begun. It is displayed at the top right of the screen on the English-speaking Turkish public channel TRT World. At 22:00 local time on Tuesday, October 22, Ankara will decide to resume or stop its offensive against Kurdish forces in northern Syria.

His army and intelligence services are scanning a 32-kilometer-deep, 120-kilometer-long strip between Tal Abyad and Ras al-Ain . It is there, between these two cities of which one was captured by Ankara at the beginning of the offensive and the other that the Kurdish forces left Sunday, that stretch the first part of the "zone of security" Wanted by Turkey. On Tuesday night, if Recep Tayyip Erdogan believes Kurdish fighters have evacuated the area, he will consider that the first phase of his plan has succeeded.

The sequel will be played in Russia, with President Vladimir Putin he meets on Tuesday. To enlarge this buffer zone, Ankara will indeed have to negotiate with Moscow, ally of the regime of Bashar al-Assad, whose forces have spread in several regions of northeastern Syria. Recep Tayyip Erdogan wants an area 444 kilometers long to send back up to 2 million Syrians currently refugees in Turkey.

See also: Turkish Offensive in Syria: Kurds Evacuate the Border City of Ras al-Ain