The United States says Turkey has agreed to a ceasefire in northern Syria to let Kurdish-led forces withdraw.
U.S Vice President, Mike Pence made the announcement during a joint press conference with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo following talks in Ankara between him and Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, stating that Washington supports the Turkish idea of creating a long-term buffer zone within Syria’s territory.
According to the BBC, all military operations will be paused for five days, and the US will help facilitate an orderly withdrawal of Kurdish-led troops from what Turkey has termed a “safe zone” on the border.
He said Ankara promised that the military operation, dubbed ‘Peace Spring’, will be stopped entirely when the Kurdish-led militias complete their withdrawal.
Pence in a press conference announcing the ceasefire also thanked Donald Trump’s strong leadership during the announcement.
“He wanted a ceasefire. He wanted to stop the violence,” Pence said.
The American Vice President further said the US would lift economic sanctions imposed on Turkey when the military offensive ended, and would not impose more in the meantime.
But Turkey’s foreign minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told journalists the offensive would only be permanently halted when the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) had left the border zone.
“We are suspending the operation, not halting it,” he said. “We will halt the operation only after (Kurdish militants) completely withdraw from the region.”