Trump news: President hails disputed Syria 'ceasefire' as White House appears to confirm quid pro quo with Ukraine

Joe Sommerlad, Clark Mindock, Chris Riotta
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Donald Trump’s administration announced a ceasefire in northeastern Syria after paving the way for Turkey’s offence to occur in the first place, with the president celebrating the move as a “great day for civilisation”.

The announcement was followed up swiftly by comments from the Turkish government casting doubt on the news, and criticism from those who have suggested that the Trump administration is giving the Turkish government a win by forcing Kurds to leave the region or face an uncertain future.

The breaking news arrives as Mr Trump's ambassador to the EU, Gordon Sondland, a key figure of interest in the impeachment inquiry, is testifying on Capitol Hill behind closed doors, turning on the president in his opening statement by saying he was “disappointed” by the decision to involve Mr Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani in US dealings with Ukraine.

Meanwhile, the president swiftly faced ridicule following the release of a bizarre letter he had written to Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan imploring him not to attack the Kurdish fighters of the Syrian Democratic Forces, which appears to have been thrown away and ignored by the recipient.

The mockery follows his dismissal of the crisis in Syria as “not our problem” on Wednesday and his falling out with senior Democrats when they urged him to halt the withdrawal of US troops from the region.

Meanwhile, the United States mourns congressman Elijah Cummings, a leading figure in the Trump impeachment probe, who died overnight after suffering through medical concerns.

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