Washington and Ankara have reached an initial agreement to establish a safe-zone along the Turkish-Syrian border east of the Euphrates River, Asharq al-Awsat reported on February 3.
According to the London-based newspaper, more than 7,000 Kurdish fighters of the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) will withdraw from the safe zone, which will have a reduce of more than 30km.
SDF fighters will be replaced with about 2,000 troops of the Syrian Kurdish Peshmerga, which is backed by the Iraqi Kurdistan Region. Arab fighters loyal to Washington and Ankara will be also deployed in the Arab areas within the safe-zone.
Prominent Syrian opposition leader Naser al-Hariri visited Kurdistan two days ago and met with local leader Masoud Barzani. The two leaders agreed to facilitate the US-Turkish agreement by providing the necessary Kurdish and Arabic troops for the safe-zone.
Despite the high-level of understanding between all sides, the agreement is yet to be finalized. The U.S. reportedly wants “observers” from its allies in the West to remain in the safe-zone. However, Washington’s allies has not accepted the offer so far. This claim is inline with a recent report of the Wall Street Journal.
Al-Sharq al-Awsat said that Moscow and Damascus are trying to sabotage the safe-zone agreement by offering their own replacement, which is the implementation of the 1998 Adana agreement. Turkey is yet to accept this offer.
The available information shows that the SDF is excluded or has a minimal role in both the Russian and US offers to Turkey. This means that the Kurdish-dominated group may lose most of its influence, if not all of it, this year.