The deadline for the withdrawal of Kurdish fighters from areas in northeastern Syria expires at 1900 GMT Tuesday, a Turkish military source said, as part of a 120-hour suspension agreed between Ankara and Washington.
“It started at 10pm Thursday… so it finishes at 10pm Tuesday,” the source said Monday.
Following the withdrawal, Turkey wants to set up a 120-kilometre (75-mile) so-called “safe zone” between Tal Abyad and Ras al-Ain, they added, saying this will then be extended to 444 kilometers.
Turkey on October 9 launched a cross-border offensive supporting Syrian militants against the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia, viewed by Ankara as “terrorists”.
After criticism from the West and US sanctions including raised tariffs on Turkish steel, US Vice President Mike Pence and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made a rushed visit to Ankara and agreed on a deal after hours of talks.
The US said that the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) militia would withdraw from the area and Washington would not slap any further sanctions if Turkey ceased fighting.
Pence said the US would lift all of the sanctions, including those slapped on Turkish ministers, following the withdrawal and a complete end to Turkey’s military operation.
The Turkish military source said 125 vehicles have left the area so far carrying YPG fighters, taking the route leading to the northeastern city of Hasakeh.
The source added that any “terrorists left” in the 120-kilometre region after Tuesday “will be neutralized”.