MON 16 - 12 - 2019
 
Date: Oct 18, 2019
Source: The Daily Star
Turkey, U.S. agree to suspension of operation in northeast Syria
ANKARA: Turkey has agreed to a five-day suspention of its military operation in northeast Syria to allow for withdrawal of Kurdish forces, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence said on Thursday after talks with Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan.

"Today the United States and Turkey have agreed to a ceasefire in Syria," Pence told a news conference after more than four hours of talks at the presidential palace in Ankara.

Pence had flown to Turkey to call for a halt in Turkey's cross-border military operation, called Operation Peace Spring, under which Turkey has aimed to clear YPG Syrian Kurdish fighters from a 20 mile (32 km) deep "safe zone" along the border.

"The Turkish side will pause Operation Peace Spring in order to allow for the withdrawal of YPG forces from the safe zone for 120 hours," Pence said.

"All military operations under Operation Peace Spring will be paused, and Operation Peace Spring will be halted entirely on completion of the withdrawal," he said.

U.S. President Donald Trump tweeted there was "great news out of Turkey" going on to thank Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan.

"Thank you to Erodgan," Trump said. "Millions of lives will be saved!"

Separately Turkey's foreign minister confirmed the suspension of the offensive in Syria until Kurdish militants withdraw from the area.

"We are suspending the operation, not halting it," Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told journalists in Ankara. "We will halt the operation only after (Kurdish militants) completely withdraw from the region."

Another Turkish official told Reuters that Turkey "got exactly what we wanted out of the meeting."

Trump's chief of staff had earlier said the president may revoke a White House invitation extended to Erdogan, depending on the outcome of the talks in Ankara.

"It's still on the schedule," Mike Mulvaney told reporters, "but I think that's one of those wait and see things."

"The president's been very clear about what he wants to see out of President Erdogan," he added.


 
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