US and Turkey agree to ceasefire in Syria, Pence says

Clark Mindock

Mike Pence has announced a 120 hour cease fire negotiated between the United States and Turkey, giving Kurdish fighters in the region a chance to retreat from northern Syria.

"We have agreed to a cease fire in Syria. 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. All military operations ... will be paused, and Operation Peace Spring will be halted entirely upon completion of the withdrawal," Mr Pence said, referring to an acronym used to describe the Syrian Democratic Forces, which is a largely Kurdish militia that has been an ally of the United States.

He continued: "once that is completed, Turkey has agreed to a permanent ceasefire and the United States of America will work with Turkey — will work with nations around the world — to make sure peace and stability are the order of the day in this safe zone."

The agreement was announced following a meeting between Mr Pence and Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and comes after Donald Trump removed American forces from northern Syria. That withdrawal has allowed Turkey to begin a military offensive in the region, imperilling US-backed Syrian Kurds that played an important role in fighting back against Isis.

More follows…