US confirms PKK/YPG withdrawal from Turkish op area
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo confirmed late Tuesday that the PKK/YPG terror group had withdrawn from the area in northern Syria where Turkey has been conducting Operation Peace Spring.
U.S. military officials have informed their Turkish counterparts about the withdrawal, Pompeo told Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu by phone, according to diplomatic sources.
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.
Ankara agreed with Washington on Oct. 17 to pause its operation to allow YPG terrorists to withdraw from the planned safe zone.
On Tuesday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin held a "historic" meeting in the Black Sea resort town of Sochi just hours before the pause was set to expire.
Ankara and Moscow reached a deal under which PKK/YPG terrorists will pull back 30 kilometers (19 miles) from 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 deaths of 40,000 people, including women, children and infants.