U.S. President Donald Trump praised his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan for holding ongoing operation in northeastern Syria.
“I really appreciate what Turkey have done. They did the right thing and I have great respect for the president,” Trump told reporters in the state of Texas, referring to Erdogan.
His remarks came shortly after Ankara agreed with Washington to pause Operation Peace Spring for five days so that YPG/PKK could leave the region.
“I just want to thank and congratulate President Erdogan. He is friend of mine and I am glad to we did not have a problem,” he said. “Frankly, he is the hell of a leader, he is a tough man, strong man.”
Trump also praised Turkish military, saying “Turkey has a great military power, Turkey is friend of ours, neighbor of ours and a member of NATO.”
According to a joint statement from Turkish foreign ministry, the operation will be paused when the withdrawal of YPG terrorists, the Syrian branch of PKK terror group, is completed.
Among the terms are the re-collection of YPG heavy weapons and the destroying of their fortifications and all other fighting positions.
Turkey will get 20 miles (32 kilometers) of safe zone south of the Turkish border in Syria, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence told a press conference in Ankara following a meeting with Erdogan that took more than an hour-and-a-half.
Pence said that Turkey and the U.S. also agreed to eliminate Daesh completely in Syria’s northeast, underscoring that Washington agreed to withdraw the existing sanctions when the operation is halted.
Turkey launched Operation Peace Spring in northern Syria on Oct. 9 in order to secure Turkey’s borders, aid the safe return of Syrian refugees, and ensure Syria’s territorial integrity.
Ankara wants to clear the region east of the Euphrates River of the terrorist PKK and its Syrian offshoot, the YPG.
In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK — listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S., and the European Union — has been responsible for deaths of 40,000 people, including women, children and infants.
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