Sat, 16 Nov 2019

Turkey Agrees To Suspend Syria Operations

RFE
18 Oct 2019, 05:47 GMT+10

Turkey has agreed to a cease-fire in Syria to let Kurdish-led forces withdraw, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence said following talks with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara.

'Today the United States and Turkey have agreed to a cease-fire in Syria,' Pence told a press conference in the Turkish capital on October 17, saying that all military operations in northern Syria will pause for five days, and the United States will help facilitate an 'orderly withdrawal' of Kurdish-led troops.

The United States and Turkey have 'mutually committed to peaceful resolution and future for the safe zone,' he said.

'We are suspending the operation. This is not a cease-fire,' Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu later told reporters, adding: 'We can only halt the offensive when all terrorist elements completely withdraw from this area.'

"Great news out of Turkey.... Millions of lives will be saved!" U.S. President Donald Trump tweeted.

Turkey launched its offensive, now in its ninth day, saying it wanted to clear the area of Kurdish forces and establish a buffer zone to resettle Syrian refugees.

The move came after Trump's abrupt decision announced last week to withdraw forces from northeast Syria where they had been supporting Kurdish fighters battling the Islamic State (IS) group.

Turkey has long argued the Kurdish fighters in Syria are an extension of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which has waged a guerrilla campaign inside Turkey since the 1980s and which Ankara, Washington, and the European Union designate as a terrorist organization.

Based on reporting by AP, Reuters, the BBC, and dpa

Copyright (c) 2018. RFE/RL, Inc. Republished with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036

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