Politics 11:40 18/10/2019 Region

The latest: US, Turkey agree to ceasefire in northern Syria

Mike Pence, the vice president of the United States, said Washington and Ankara have agreed to a ceasefire in Turkey's assault northeast Syria.

The announcement on Thursday came after talks between Pence and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in the Turkish capital, Al Jazeera reported. 

The ceasefire grants the Kurdish-led forces that were Washington's main Syrian ally in the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, or ISIS) five days to withdraw from the so-called "safe-zone" Ankara wants to establish inside Syria.

Here are the latest updates:

UN chief welcomes Syria de-escalation efforts

Antonio Guterres, the secretary-general of the United Nations, welcomed efforts to de-escalate hostilities in northeast Syria and protect civilians, according to a spokesman.

In a brief statement, the UN said "the secretary-general recognises that there is still a long way to go for an effective solution to the crisis in Syria".

Kurdish forces willing to abide by ceasefire

Mazloum Abdi, the commander of the YPG-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), told Kurdish media his forces would abide by Ankara's ceasefire agreement.

The extent of the ceasefire stretched 100km along the Syria-Turkey border from the town of Tel Abyad to Ras al-Ain, he told Ronahi TV. "We have not discussed the fate of other areas," he said, referring to other parts of northeastern Syria where Turkey wants to create what it calls a "safe zone".

"We will do whatever we can for the success of the ceasefire agreement," Abdi said, describing it as a "tentative agreement."

UN Security Council presidency happy with ceasefire move

The president of the UN Security Council said that Thursday's ceasefire would be "a great thing if it happens."

South Africa's UN ambassador, Jerry Matjila, this month's president, told reporters that members were waiting for details. "If it does happen, I think it's a step in the good direction," he said.

Trump credits 'tough love' for ceasefire

Donald Trump, the US president, credited his threat of sanctions on Turkey as "tough love" that led Ankara to agree to a five-day cease-fire in its battle with Kurds in northern Syria.

Talking to reporters in Fort Worth, Texas, Trump said the Kurds were happy with the deal.

He also heaped praise on Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, saying: "He's a hell of a leader. He did the right thing. I have great respect for the president."

Turkey confirms suspension of Syria offensive

Mevlut Cavusoglu, Turkey's foreign minister, confirmed Ankara agreed to temporarily halt its offensive in northeast Syria to allow Kurdish fighters to withdraw from the region.

"The US side has accepted the necessity of a safe zone to protect Turkey's security interests. And we have reached a full agreement for the Turkish army to control this zone," he told a news conference in Ankara.

"This is not a ceasefire, a ceasefire can only be made only between two legitimate sides," he said, adding that withdrawing Kurdish fighters will have to return their heavy weapons and destroy their fortifications.

US to halt sanctions after Turkey ceasefire deal

Mike Pence said Washington will impose no further sanctions on Turkey once there is a ceasefire in northern Syria.

"With the implementation (of the ceasefire), the US will not impose further sanctions on Turkey," Pence said after talks in Ankara.

Trump will also withdraw existing economic sanctions on Turkey when Kurdish fighters withdraw from the border area and Ankara brings an end to military hostilities. 



Source Panorama.am
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