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Syrian cease-fire holds as Kurdish forces withdraw from Turkish border

A fragile truce held for a fourth day despite sporadic fighting as Kurdish militants leave a strategic town, the United States pulls out its soldiers and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan heads to Russia to discuss what comes next.
Turkey-backed Syrian rebel fighters stand near underground tunnels said to be made by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in Tal Abyad, Syria October 17, 2019. REUTERS/Mahmoud Hassano - RC174FE76C60

ISTANBUL — A tenuous cease-fire between the Turkish military and Syrian Kurdish militants largely held for a fourth day on Monday, with Kurdish forces withdrawing from a flashpoint town and Turkey warning it will restart its military offensive in northern Syria if the pullout falls short.

The next phase of Turkey’s military operation to wrest control of much of northeast Syria from the Kurdish-dominated Syrian Democratic Forces may now depend on the outcome of talks between Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Russia’s Vladimir Putin on Tuesday. "We will take up this process with Mr. Putin. After that, we will hopefully take the necessary steps," Erdogan said in televised comments. He did not elaborate.

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