Turkey and US agree on ceasefire in northern Syria - page 1
Turkey and the US have at first agreed on a ceasefire in northern Syria. Turkey has pledged to halt all military action for 120 hours, US Vice President Mike Pence said after meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. The countries have reached an agreement to withdraw the Kurdish People's Defense Units (YPG) from the Turkish border to establish a "security zone" there. Turkey has pledged to end its military offensive after the withdrawal of the Syrian Kurdish militia.
Mike Pence and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had met in Ankara on Thursday for talks on the conflict in northern Syria. In the room were therefore initially also the Turkish Vice President Fuat Oktay and the US Special Representative for the anti-IS coalition, James Jeffrey.
The US wants to lift its sanctions against Turkey in a permanent ceasefire in northern Syria. US President Donald Trump spoke of "great news" - "millions of lives will be saved".
Last week, Turkey started a military operation against the Kurdish YPG militia in northern Syria, which controls a large area there. Turkey regards the Kurdish militia as a terrorist organization. On the other hand, for the United States, the Kurds were long-time allies in the fight against the so-called "Islamic State" (IS). The Turkish mission had met with international criticism, but in part only by a US troop withdrawal from the border area has been made possible. Relations between the countries are tense. The US imposed sanctions on Turkey earlier this week.
In addition, the US government had already called for an immediate ceasefire this week. Erdoğan, however, had made it clear shortly before the US Vice President's visit that a ceasefire was out of the question as long as the goal had not been reached. Turkey wants to set up a so-called security zone along the Syrian-Turkish border and expel all Kurdish militias.