The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) have accepted an agreement between the United States and Turkey on a five-day ceasefire in northern Syria, while Syrian Presidential Advisor Buthaina Shaaban said the agreement remains vague. In return, the United Nations welcomed any effort to reduce the escalation.
The leader of the Syrian Democratic Forces Mazloum Kobani said the troops accepted the agreement with Turkey and will do everything necessary to make it successful. Senior Kurdish leader Aldar Khalil also welcomed in televised remarks the cessation of hostilities with Turkey in northern Syria, but said the Kurds would defend themselves if attacked.
Khalil said that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan "wants to penetrate 32 kilometers in Syria, and we have already rejected these conditions."
The content of the agreement
US Vice President Mike Pence said his country and Turkey agreed on Thursday to a five-day ceasefire in northern Syria by freezing the Turkish military operation to allow the withdrawal of Kurdish forces away from the Turkish border 32 kilometers.
Pence said Washington had received assurances from the YPG for an orderly withdrawal from the region, and said the agreement included future cooperation on the creation of a safe area in northern Syria that would protect Turkey's national security.
In a related context, said a spokesman for the National Army of the Syrian armed opposition to the island that he viewed positively to the cease-fire agreement reached by the Turkish and US sides. He added that the National Army is in full coordination with the Turkish side regarding the suspension of military actions.
Ankara and armed Syrian factions - most notably the National Army - have been waging a large-scale military operation against Kurdish guerrillas in northeastern Syria since the ninth of this month, called "the spring of peace", in order to establish a safe area to ensure the security of Turkey and provide conditions for the return of Syrian refugees.
Results of the operation
In the past few days, Turkish troops have taken control of a 120-kilometer border stretching from the town of Tal Abyad (Raqqa governorate) to Ras al-Ain (Hasakeh governorate), which they surrounded on Thursday.
The official SANA news agency quoted Syrian President Bashar al-Assad as saying that his country would respond to the Turkish aggression and "confront it in all its forms in any area of Syrian territory through all legitimate means available."
Al-Assad said during his meeting with Iraqi National Security Advisor Faleh Al-Fayyad that the Turkish attack is a "clear invasion and aggression," adding that Syria "will respond to it and confront it in all its forms in any area of Syrian territory through all legitimate means available."
|Gunmen belonging to Syrian opposition factions inside the city of Tal Abyad before the expulsion of the Syrian Democratic Forces (Anatolia)|
Advisor to Assad
Buthaina Shaaban, an adviser to the Syrian president, said the announced agreement between Turkey and the United States on a ceasefire in northern Syria was "ambiguous." She added in television statements that Damascus "can not accept the copy of the model of Iraqi Kurdistan in Syria."
Meanwhile, Republican Senator Lindsey Graham and Democrat Chris Van Hollen announced a joint bill to impose sanctions on Turkey despite a ceasefire in northern Syria.
Graham said the sanctions included high-ranking Turkish officials and prevented military support for Turkish forces. For his part, Hollen said the draft resolution aims to repair the damage caused by allowing Ankara to attack Kurdish fighters, as he put it.
US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democrat leader Chuck Schumer called the agreement between Washington and Ankara to stop the Turkish military operation in northern Syria a "shame."
Pelosi and Schumer said the deal "seriously undermines the credibility of US foreign policy and sends a dangerous message to our allies and enemies alike that we cannot be trusted. President Erdogan has given up nothing, and President Trump has given him everything."
In response to the Turkish-American agreement, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres welcomed any effort to reduce the escalation in northeastern Syria and protect civilians there. Guterres understands that there is still a long way to go to find an effective solution to the Syrian crisis, he added.
UN Security Council President Jerry Matjila said the ceasefire in northern Syria was "wonderful if it is indeed achieved," adding that council members were waiting for details of the agreement between the Turkish and US sides.