Most fighting stopped in northern Syria: US official


Fighting is mostly finished in northeastern Syria, a U.S. defense official said Friday as Turkey suspended its operation against terror groups in the region.

“Most of the fighting has stopped,” said the official, speaking on the condition of anonymity. “It will take time for thing to completely quiet down and that is not unusual for those type of things.”

On Thursday, Ankara agreed to pause Operation Peace Spring for five days to pave the way for withdrawal of PKK/YPG terrorists from a planned safe zone, 20 miles (32 kilometers) south of the Turkish border.

Upon completion of the terror group’s withdrawal, Turkey says it will enact a permanent cease-fire.

Defense Secretary Mark Esper said Friday that U.S. troops will not be on the ground to implement the safe zone and Washington will remain in communication with Ankara.

On Oct. 9, Turkey had launched Operation Peace Spring to eliminate terrorists from northern Syria in order to secure Turkey’s borders, aid in the safe return of Syrian refugees and ensure Syria’s territorial integrity.

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.

*Servet Gunerigok contributed to the story
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