120-hour ceasefire in northern Syria
ISWNews Analysis Group: US Vice President Mike Pence and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan agreed to a five-day ceasefire in the military offensive in northeastern Syria.
Today, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, along with US Vice President Mike Pence, arrived in Ankara, the capital of Turkey.
US envoys travel to Ankara on the one hand, Donald Trump, in recent days due to withdrawal of US. troops from northern Syria and leaving the field for Turkey and the Syrian government, is under intense media pressure and criticism from the opposition party and some of his own parties and on the other hand, Recep Tayyip Erdogan has also been widely criticized by neighboring countries, as well as by the international community, for his actions against Syrian Kurds, especially in the Ras al-Ain and Tel Abiad area, which is using mercenaries and Takfiri terrorists for his goals.
So today two senior members of Donald Trump’s government have arrived in Ankara to perhaps find a way out of this and reduce the tensions between Trump and Erdogan, which was further intensified by Trump’s letter to Erdogan.
However, the meeting between the two sides resulted in Turkey agreeing to a 120-hour(5 day) ceasefire in northern Syria, and accordingly Kurdish forces (SDF / YPG / PKK) in the eastern Euphrates have 120 hours to withdraw from the “Safe Zone” which was previously agreed between the US and Turkey.
US Vice President Mike Pence said about the ceasefire:
“We agreed with Turkey on a truce in Syria; We have called on the Syrian Democratic Forces to guarantee a 20-mile retreat. The agreement with Turkey includes a ceasefire on all military operations in northern Syria, and the Turkish operation will be halted for 120 hours by the withdrawal of Syrian democratic forces.”
“What we have achieved today is in the interests of the Kurds as well as the Turkish people,” he added.
On the other hand, the Turkish Foreign Minister stated about today’s talks:
“We emphasize the need to preserve Syria’s territorial integrity. We will suspend ‘Operation Peace Spring’ and will not completely stop it. We will also talk to the Russians after the Syrian army forces arrive in Mabaj and Ain al-Arab.
Our goal is to create a safe zone from the Euphrates to the Iraqi border at a depth of 32 kilometers.
We agreed with the American side to take heavy weapons from the Kurdish forces and to evacuate and destroy their positions. The area must be completely safe so that refugees can return voluntarily. We intend to return the two million refugees to the safe zone in principle.”
The Syrian Democratic Forces have so far not responded to the ceasefire, and given that Kurdish forces have previously opposed the US-Turkey safe zone plan, it is unlikely to agree to the current ceasefire.