Turkey agrees with US to pause Syria assault while Kurds withdraw


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18 Oct, 2019 8:18 am

ANKARA (Reuters) – Turkey agreed to pause its offensive in Syria for five days to let Kurdish forces withdraw from a “safe zone” Ankara had sought to capture, in a deal hailed by the Trump administration and cast by Turkey as a complete victory.

The truce was announced by US Vice President Mike Pence after talks in Ankara with Turkey’s President Tayyip Erdogan, and was praised by President Donald Trump, who said it would save “millions of lives”.

But if implemented it would achieve all the main objectives Turkey announced when it launched its assault on Oct. 9: control of a strip of Syria more than 30 km (20 miles) deep, with the Kurdish militia, once US allies, obliged to pull out.

It was also unclear if the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) would fully comply with the agreement, which would leave Turkish forces in charge of a swathe of territory that the Kurds once held with US military support.


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