Russia and Turkey will implement their agreement on the northern Syrian city of Tell Rifaat in the beginning of July, the Syrian pro-opposition news outlet Enab Baladi reported on June 18. The agreement is mainly aimed at allowing displaced civilians to return to their houses in the city.
Last week, the London-based al-Araby al-Jadeed outlet claimed the Turkish military will be deployed in Tell Rifaat side by side with the Russian Military Police, while the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and the Kurdish People Protection Units (YPG) will withdraw from the northern city.
According to Enab Baladi, local committees are currently registering the names of displaced civilians who want to return to their houses in the city under the Russian-Turkish agreement. However, Free Syrian Army (FSA) groups and fighters will not be allowed to enter the city at all.
The YPG, backed by the Russian Aerospace Forces, captured Tell Rifaat from the FSA on February 15, 2016. Back then, tens of thousands of civilians left the city due to the constant clashes between the YPG and the FSA. Later following the Turkish attack on the area of Afrin, units of the SAA and the Russian Military Police were deployed alongisde the YGP in the city and in few villages around it.
The Russian-Turkish agreement will likely stabilize the situation in the northern Aleppo countryside allowing to avoid further escalation in the area. It’s important to note that the alleged agreement will not allow the FSA to take over the city.