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Turkey has agreed to a ceasefire in Syria, Pence says

Pence spoke after he and other US officials met with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and US Vice President Mike Pence
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and US Vice President Mike Pence
Image: Jacquelyn Martin via PA Images

US VICE PRESIDENT Mike Pence has announced that Turkey has agreed to a ceasefire to allow the Kurdish forces it was battling to safely withdraw from an area in northern Syria.

Pence spoke after he and other US officials met with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara.

He said that US President Donald Trump made it clear that had Turkey not agreed, the US would impose more economic sanctions.

However, the agreement essentially gives the Turks what they had sought to achieve with their military operation in the first place, removal of the Kurdish forces from the border “safe zone”.

Pence said Turkey had agreed to a “pause in military operations for 120 hours” to allow the Kurds to withdraw.

He said the US and Turkey had “mutually committed to a peaceful resolution and future for the safe zone”.

After the Kurdish forces are cleared from the safe zone, Turkey has committed to a permanent ceasefire but is under no obligation to withdraw its troops.

That, according to one US official, is tantamount to allowing Turkey to occupy the safe zone.

In addition, the deal gives Turkey relief from sanctions the administration had imposed and threatened to impose since the invasion began, meaning there will be no penalty for the operation.

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