On Tuesday, October 22, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Russian President Vladimir Putin reached an agreement to establish a "safe zone" in northern Syria. Between Wednesday, October 23, and Monday, October 28, Russian military police and Syrian border guards will move in to facilitate the removal of Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) forces and weapons to beyond the zone, which extends 29 km (18 mi) beyond the Turkish-Syrian border. After the initial phase of the operation, Turkish and Russian troops will conduct joint patrols in northern Syria within 10 km (6 mi) of the border, beginning on Tuesday, October 29. The agreement comes hours ahead of the expiration of a five-day ceasefire between Turkish and Kurdish-led forces in the region.
A heightened security presence is to be expected in northeastern Syria over the near term. Further unrest, including violent clashes between opposing security forces, are possible in the region over the coming days and weeks.
President Erdoğan announced on October 5 that Turkey would launch a military operation in northeastern Syria in an attempt to expel Kurdish (YPG) forces from the Syrian-Turkish border. Erdoğan stated that the air and ground operations would extend 30 km (19 mi) into Syria from Syria's northeastern border with Turkey. Turkey considers the YPG to be a terrorist organization linked to the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) group in Turkey.
On October 14, an agreement was reached between the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and the Syrian government for Syrian government forces to deploy along the border with Turkey amid an ongoing Turkish offensive in northeastern Syria.
Following diplomatic talks between US Vice President Mike Pence and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on October 17, Turkey agreed to suspend military operations in northeastern Syria. The temporary ceasefire would last five days, allowing Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) forces to withdraw from the 32 km (20 mi)-wide "safe zone" along Syria's northeastern border with Turkey.
Due to extremely poor security conditions, Western governments generally advise against all travel to Syria, with some banning travel to the country. Professional security advice and support should be sought prior to any travel to Syria.
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