October 29, 2019 / 3:52 PM / 9 months ago

Turkey will find out via joint patrols with Russia whether Kurdish forces withdrew: Erdogan aide

Turkish soldiers patrol along a wall on the border line between Turkey and Syria, in the Turkish border town of Ceylanpinar, in Sanliurfa province, Turkey, October 29, 2019. REUTERS/Kemal Aslan

ANKARA (Reuters) - Turkey will establish through its joint patrols with Russia in northeast Syria whether the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia has withdrawn from the region, a top aide to President Tayyip Erdogan said on Tuesday.

Earlier, Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said that armed Kurdish forces had withdrawn from the zone near Syria’s northeastern border with Turkey faster than scheduled, the TASS news agency reported, as a 150-hour deadline set by Ankara and Moscow expired at 1500 GMT.

“Turkey and Russia had set a 150-hour deadline for YPG terrorists to leave the safe zone. The time is up. We will establish, through joint patrols, whether or not the terrorists have actually withdrawn,” said Fahrettin Altun, Erdogan’s communications director.

(The story corrects to remove reference to safe zone in first paragraph and in quote)

Reporting by Tuvan Gumrukcu; Editing by Gareth Jones

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