Additional Russian Military Personnel Arrive in Syria
The Defense Ministry in Moscow said on Friday that about 300 additional Russian military police have arrived in Syria to assist government troops in removing Kurdish fighters from a 20-mile-wide zone along the border with Turkey. The Russian personnel were brought in from Chechnya, according to the ministry. The move stems from an agreement reached earlier this week between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who had moved forces of his own into the northeastern Syrian corridor on October 9 to clear out the Kurdish YPG militia, which he accuses of providing aid to Turkish Kurds seeking autonomy. Ankara agreed to a lull in the fighting last week following pressure from the United States, but warned that it would resume unless the militia left the area. For its part, the YPG says that Turkey and a Turkish-back Syrian militia broke the ceasefire on Thursday by launching a ground offensive against three Kurdish towns.