Turkey, US agree over pausing op in northern Syria


Turkey and the U.S. agreed on pausing of Turkey’s anti-terror operation in northern Syria on Thursday.

“Turkish side will pause Operation Peace Spring in order to allow for the withdrawal of YPG forces from the safe-zone for 120 hours,” U.S. Vice President Mike Pence said at a news conference at the U.S. Embassy to Turkey in Ankara.

“All military operations under Operation Peace Spring will be paused and Operation Peace Spring will be halted entirely on condition of withdrawal,” Pence added.

He also said that withdrawal of YPG/PKK terrorists from the safe zone has already begun which led to pausing of Turkey’s military operation.

Turkey will get 20 miles (32 kilometers) of safe zone south of the Turkish border in Syria, Pence added.

Pence said that Turkey and the U.S. also agreed to eliminate Daesh completely in Syria’s northeast, adding: “This will also include an agreement to coordinate efforts on detention facilities and internally displaced persons in formerly ISIS-controlled [DAESH] areas”.

Pence underscored that the U.S. agreed to withdraw the existing sanctions “once a permanent cease-fire is reached”.

Pence added that Turkey and the U.S. agreed on “the priority of respecting vulnerable human life, human rights and particularly the protection of religious and ethnic communities in the region”.

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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