Kurdish fighters left on Sunday (October 20th) the Syrian border town of Ras Al-Ain besieged by Turkish forces, a first withdrawal since a truce agreement in northeastern Syria negotiated by Washington and expiring theoretically in two days.
Announced Thursday, the cease-fire provides for the suspension for 120 hours of the offensive launched on 9 October by Turkey to allow a withdrawal of Kurdish fighters (YPG) border areas, and the establishment of a "zone security "32 km wide in Syrian territory along the border.
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A convoy carrying wounded and fighters of the Syrian Democratic Forces (FDS), dominated by the YPG, but also remains, left Sunday Ras al-Ain, besieged by Turkish forces and their Syrian counterparts, noted a correspondent of the AFP on the spot.
More than 50 vehicles, including ambulances, have left the city hospital as a dividing line between the belligerents, he said, claiming to have seen flames rise from the hospital after the departure of the hospital. convoy.
A withdrawal plan confirmed by Turkey
Turkey has confirmed this withdrawal of Kurdish fighters. "A convoy of about 55 vehicles entered Ras al-Ain and a convoy of 86 vehicles left for Tal Tamr," said a statement from the Turkish Ministry of Defense, which also broadcast footage of evacuation.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (OSDH) previously reported that a total of 41 remains (28 SDF combatants and 13 civilians) were in the city's only hospital or in temporary cemeteries.
The convoy arrived at Tal Tamr, further south, where residents gathered in the main square welcomed youyou and slogans in support of the Syrian Democratic Forces, an AFP correspondent said.
US President Donald Trump said "the ceasefire is holding up very well," in a tweet quoting Defense Minister Mark Esper. "There were minor clashes that ended quickly, and the Kurds are moving to new areas," the minister said.
Mark Esperanto, Secretary of Defense, "The ceasefire is holding up very nicely. There are some minor skirmishes that have ended quickly. New areas being resettled with the Kurds. "USA soldiers are not in combat or ceasefire zones. We have secured the Oil. Bringing soldiers home!Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 20, 2019
This is the first time that FDS fighters have left Ras al-Ain. On Saturday, the OSDH reported the evacuation by a medical convoy of 30 wounded from the city, and four people who died of their injuries. "The United States has the obligation to facilitate the withdrawal of the YPG and collect their weapons," said Sunday Fahrettin Altun, spokesman for the Turkish presidency.
A truce punctuated by bombings
This truce is punctuated by sporadic fighting and bombardment in the west and north-west of Ras al-Ain, according to the OSDH. In the Tal Abyad area to the west, a Turkish soldier was killed and another wounded, the Turkish Ministry of Defense said on Sunday.
Since Thursday, Kurdish forces and Ankara have accused each other of violating the truce agreement. The Turkish offensive against Kurdish forces was launched after an October 7 withdrawal of US border troops following an announcement by Donald Trump.