Pence gets agreement with Erdogan on Syria ceasefire

Turkey and the United States have agreed to a ceasefire in northern Syria, US Vice President Mike Pence told a press conference in the Turkish capital Ankara on Thursday evening.

Under the agreement, Turkish military operations will be paused for 120 hours to allow the US to facilitate the safe withdrawal of the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) from the 20-mile-wide ‘safe zone’ along the shared border.

Once the withdrawal is concluded, Operation Peace Spring will be halted completely.

“Today, the United States and Turkey have agreed to a ceasefire in Syria,” Pence said, following hours of meetings with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and top officials.

“The Turkish side will pause Operation Peace Spring in order to allow for the withdrawal of the YPG forces from the safe zone for 120 hours. All military operations, under Operation Peace Spring, will be paused and Operation Peace Spring will be halted entirely on the completion of the withdrawal,” Pence said.

“Our administration has already been in contact with Syrian defense forces and we have already begun to facilitate their safe withdrawal from the nearly 20-mile-wide safe zone area in the south of Turkish border with Syria,” he said.

“This also includes an agreement by Turkey to engage in no military action against the community of Kobane, and in addition, the United States and Turkey have both mutually committed to a peaceful resolution and future for the safe zone, working on an international basis to ensure that peace and security defines this border region of Syria,” the VP added.