• US, Turkey agree to ceasefire in Syria, Pence says

    By: Theresa Seiger, Cox Media Group National Content Desk

    Updated:

    The U.S. and Turkey agreed Thursday to a five-day ceasefire in Syria, Vice President Mike Pence announced at a news conference in Turkey.

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    Pence said military operations will be paused for 120 hours on the border between Turkey and Syria to give U.S.-allied Syrian Kurds time to withdraw from the area.

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

    The announcement came after a high-level delegation, including Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, met with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara.

    Trump praised the announcement Thursday while speaking with reporters in Forth Worth, Texas. He credited his threat of sanctions on Turkey as "tough love" that led to the ceasefire.

    "This is an incredible outcome," Trump said. "It's a great day for the United States. It's a great day for Turkey."

    Erdogan announced Turkey launched a military operation in northern Syria last week, days after Trump pulled U.S. troops out of the region. Trump disavowed the decision in statement, saying he "made it clear to Turkey that this operation is a bad idea."

    The Associated Press reported the agreement, "essentially gives the Turks what they had sought to achieve with their military operation in the first place."

    Kurdish forces were not party to the agreement, and it was not immediately clear whether they would comply.

    Ankara has long argued the Kurdish fighters are nothing more than an extension of the Kurdistan Workers Party, or PKK, which has waged a guerrilla campaign inside Turkey since the 1980s and which Turkey, as well as the U.S. and European Union, designate as a terrorist organization.

    The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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