On April 5, a spokesman for the Turkish Presidency, Ibrahim Kalin, revealed that Turkey had been informed by Russia that the Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) had almost entirely withdrawn from the Syrian northern city of Tal Rifaat and the area around it.
According to the Turkish Daily Sabah newspaper, Kalin said that Turkey is now trying to verify the Russian information through its own sources. On the same time, Kalin stressed that the Turkish military operation in northern Syria “Operation Olive Branch” will continue until the YPG will be wiped out of the entire region of Afrin, including Tal Rifaat.
Earlier, Turkey’s deputy prime minister Bekir Bozdag emphasized during an interview on the Turkish Haberturk TV that Turkey is still determined to attack the YPG in Tel Rifaat.
“Just as Afrin was cleared of the YPG/PYD terror organization, now Tal Rifaat will be cleared,” Bozdag said.
Local observers believe that a Turkish offensive on Tell Rifaat is highly unlikely now, as it has become clear that Russia opposes to such an action. Russia redeployed its military police in the city on March 29 while the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) also boosted its troops there.