The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) have withdrawn from the besieged border town of Ras al-Ayn, fulfilling part of a fragile US-brokered deal with Turkey.
On Sunday, dozens of vehicles carrying SDF fighters and civilians rolled out of the border town that has been at the centre of clashes since the Turkish military and its rebel proxies launched an offensive on October 9, after the US said it was pulling troops from the region.
The Turkish military, SDF and a war monitor confirmed that Kurdish-led forces had exited the city. The truce only requires SDF fighters to leave, but many civilians fled for fear Turkish-backed rebels would commit more atrocities.
Germany rejects Turkey’s justification for a military push into Kurdish-dominated regions of northeast Syria, Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said on Sunday.
“After everything we know and after everything that Turkey itself has cited as a legal basis, we cannot share that view,” Maas said in remarks broadcast by the public broadcaster ZDF.
“We do not believe that an attack on Kurdish units or Kurdish militias is legitimate under international law,” the foreign minister added. His comments were echoed by other top officials, including Defence Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer.