Until this month, Kurdish fighters had managed to create, in the midst of the turmoil of war, their own autonomous region in northeastern Syria, without government control. They significantly expanded their territory starting in 2015, when they became the main Syrian partner in a US-led coalition that was working to defeat militants from the Islamic State militant group, also known as ISIS. In Thursday`s deal with Erdogan in the Kremlin, Putin gave in to Turkish calls for a ceasefire, something the Syrian government and its Russian benefactor had previously opposed by continuing an offensive to wipe out the last rebel pockets in Idlib. Unlike Syrian President Assad, who has vowed to recover “every inch of land” from the rebels, Russia is primarily interested in protecting its military bases in Syria and avoiding a major war. M. Erdoğan hailed the deal as a “historic deal,” while speaking to reporters alongside Putin.
September 21, 2021