Turkey has come to an agreement on a ceasefire in northern Syria to allow Kurdish-led forces to withdraw, BBC reported on Friday. The deal followed after United States Vice President Mike Pence and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan met in Ankara to discuss the situation in Syria.
All skirmishes would be halted for five days and the United States will help in facilitating the withdrawal of Kurdish-led soldiers from Turkey’s declared “safe zone” on the border, Pence said. He added that the US will no longer impose further sanctions on Turkey, according to the agreement.
Following Turkey’s military offensive in Syria, the United States had imposed sanctions on two Turkish ministries and three senior government officials earlier this week. Trump said he had issued an executive order to immediately freeze negotiations on a US-Turkey trade deal worth $100 billion and reimpose tariffs of 50% on Turkish steel.
Syrian Democratic Forces commander Mazloum Kobani said the Kurdish troops would keep an eye on the agreement in the locations between the border towns of Ras al-Ayin and Tal Abyad, where the conflict has been more pronounced. “We have not discussed the fate of other areas,” he added.
However, there is no clarity on whether the Kurdish forces will completely comply with the agreement. The United Kingdom-based war monitor Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the skirmishes continued in Ras al-Ain even after the announcement of the ceasefire. More than 300,000 people were displaced and 72 civilians were killed in Syria in the past eight days, it said.
“I have now received instructions to stop any operation or advance,” an unidentified commander with the rebel Syrian National Army told CNN. “But, we are allowed to respond if fired upon by Kurdish units.”
United States President Donald Trump called the deal “unconventional. “Sometimes you have to let them fight a little while… right?” he said. “Sometimes you have to let them fight. It’s like two kids in a lot, you got to let them fought and then you pull them apart.” He also thanked Pence and United States Secretary of State Mike Pence for meeting Erdogan in Turkey.
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