Kurdish militia to withdraw from safe zone area on Syrian-Turkish border: report

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US forces, accompanied by Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) fighters, drive their armoured vehicles near the northern Syrian village of Darbasiyah, on the border with Turkey on April 28, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / DELIL SOULEIMAN

The Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) militia and US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) are set to withdraw from a five to 14 kilometer-wide strip along the border with Turkey, SDF spokesman Mustafa Bali said on Tuesday.

In line with US-Turkish talks, the width of the border strip into Syria will vary and will include rural areas or military positions, not cities or towns, Bali told Reuters.

The SDF, with the YPG at its forefront, controls much of north and east Syria after seizing territory from the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

Ankara considers the YPG an offshoot of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has been waging a bloody insurgency for decades in Turkey’s Southeast.

US support for the YPG was an area of conflict between the two NATO allies during the fight against ISIL in Syria.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Monday vowed to enter the Kurdish-held region east of the Euphrates River.

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