Kurdish Militia Retreat in Northern Syria

  • Syrian Human Rights Watch said the Syrian Democratic Forces had withdrawn from the Resalat and had left dead bodies.
  • The Turkish Ministry of Defense stated that a convoy consisting of four vehicles was heading towards Rasilin and then a convoy of four vehicles left the town for Tel Tamer.
  • According to the Turkish government, the ceasefire, which is expected to last until Tuesday, was again violated on Sunday.

Nearly ten days after Turkish military operations began in northern Syria, and three days after the ceasefire was announced, the Syrian Democratic Forces, the most important of which were Kurdish militia People’s Defense Units (YPG), announced their withdrawal in accordance with the ceasefire. They have accomplished their task, they said. A spokesman for the Syrian Democratic Forces wrote on Twitter, “we no longer have a fighter in the city.”

The Syrian Democratic Forces, commonly abbreviated to SDF, HSD, and QSD, is an alliance in the Syrian Civil War composed primarily of Kurdish, Arab, and Assyrian/Syriac militias, as well as some smaller Armenian, Turkmen and Chechen forces. The SDF is militarily led by the People’s Protection Units (YPG), a mostly Kurdish militia.

Syrian Human Rights Watch said the Syrian Democratic Forces had withdrawn from the Resalat and had left dead bodies. Pictures of Ras Al-Ain show several ambulances accompanying the convoy of cars leaving the city.

Turkey approves Kurdish withdrawal

The Turkish Ministry of Defense stated that a convoy consisting of four vehicles was heading towards Rasilin and then a convoy of four vehicles left the town for Tel Tamer. The Turkish Ministry of Defense also announced that it was pursuing the withdrawal of People’s Defense Units, and so far had “no obstacles.”

US Vice President Mike Pence announced a cease-fire between Turkey and Kurdish militiamen on Thursday,  after talks with the Turkish government. The ceasefire was intended as an opportunity for Kurdish fighters to withdraw from the Syrian border area, where Turkey plans to form a “safe zone.”

Turkey launched a military operation in northern Syria on October 9th to counter the People’s Defense Units, and push them out of the border area. Turkey calls this Kurdish organization terrorist. It was only when the US military forces, that were united in their fight against ISIS, announced their withdrawal that Turkey began military operations on Syrian soil.

Syrian Democratic Forces commander and spokesman Redvor Khalil had promised to withdraw his fighters only if the Turkish government guaranteed the removal of the remaining combatants, civilians and wounded.

The People’s Protection Units or People’s Defense Units is a mainly-Kurdish militia in Syria and the primary component of the Syrian Democratic Forces. The YPG mostly consists of ethnic Kurds, but also includes Arabs, foreign volunteers, and is closely allied to the Syriac Military Council, a militia of Assyrians.

Fragile ceasefire

According to the Turkish government, the ceasefire, which is expected to last until Tuesday in northern Syria, was again violated on Sunday, October 20th. According to the Turkish Ministry of Defense, one soldier was killed and another soldier was injured in the attack by Kurdish militants.

According to the Turkish Ministry of Defense, the soldiers were attacked while shooting in self-defense while conducting a “surveillance mission” in the area around Tel Abid. Turkey and Kurdish militias on Saturday accused each other of violating the ceasefire agreement.

Furthеr еаѕt аlоng thе Syria-Turkey bоrdеr, a mіlіtіа group іn thе tоwn of Ras аl-Ain posted a dіѕturbіng video in whісh thеу рrоudlу claimed thеу would display thе hеаdѕ оf аnу Kurdіѕh ‘іnfіdеl’ thеу fіnd. In the footage, оnе of thе group shouts, “Dеѕіѕt sons оf Muwali. Wе’vе соmе tо bеhеаd уоu, you іnfіdеlѕ, уоu ароѕtаtеѕ. God wіllіng, wе’rе соmіng fоr уоu.” Thе head spokesman for the Sуrіаn Dеmосrаtіс Fоrсеѕ роѕtеd thе fооtаgе, ѕауіng Turkish-backed аrmеd groups threaten to bеhеаd аnу “infidel Kurd” they сарturе оn their way tо NE Sуrіа.

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Doris Mkwaya

I am a journalist, with more than 12 years of experience as a reporter, author, editor, and journalism lecturer." I've worked as a reporter, editor and journalism lecturer, and am very enthusiastic about bringing what I've learned to this site. 

 


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