Ankara (ANN)-Turkey has agreed to end the military offensive in northern Syria after Kurdish fighters withdraw from a safe zone, US Vice President Mike Pence has said.
Ankara’s incursion “will be halted entirely on completion” of the withdrawal, Pence told reporters following more than five hours of negotiations between a US delegation and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara on Thursday.
He said that Turkey will suspend its military operation for 120 hours to allow Kurdish YPG militants to pull out from the designated safe zone along the Turkish and Syrian border.
“Today the United States and Turkey have agreed to a ceasefire in Syria, in order to allow from YPG forces to withdraw from the safe zone for 120 hours,” Pence said.
Turkey’s military will primarily enforce a “safe zone” in northern Syria, according to a joint US-Turkish statement.
“The safe zone will be primarily enforced by the Turkish Armed Forces,” the statement said.
Turkish Foreign Minster Mevlut Cavusoglu Turkey’s military was only “pausing” operations so that the Kurdish YPG forces could leave the zone.
He added no guarantees were made in the talks on the flashpoint Syrian border town of Kobani.
Trump tweets ‘great news out of Turkey’
“Great news out of Turkey,” Trump tweeted. “Millions of lives will be saved!”
“This deal could NEVER have been made 3 days ago. There needed to be some “tough” love in order to get it done. Great for everybody. Proud of all!” he added.
“This is a great day for civilization. I am proud of the United States for sticking by me in following a necessary, but somewhat unconventional, path. People have been trying to make this “Deal” for many years. Millions of lives will be saved. Congratulations to ALL!” he continued.
Turkey last week began pounding the positions of Kurdish fighters with jets and artillery and sent in troops to purge them from the area east of Euphrates.
The offensive came three days after Trump announced he would pull US troops from the region, effectively exposing its allied Kurdish militants to their archenemy, Turkey.
Trump’s move to withdraw troops from Syria was widely condemned by both Republican and Democratic Party lawmakers in Congress.
On Thursday, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said his government will respond through all legitimate means available to the Turkish offensive.
During a meeting with visiting Iraqi National Security Advisor Falih al-Fayyadh in Damascus, Assad said foreign schemes in the Middle East region have been foiled throughout history, and the Turkish criminal aggression, launched by Erdogan’s administration, on Syria falls within such plots.