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120-Hour Ceasefire In Northeastern Syria. What’s Going On?

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120-Hour Ceasefire In Northeastern Syria. What's Going On?

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On October 17th, the US and Turkey reached an agreement for a 120 hour long “ceasefire” in northeastern Syria.

The decision was made after 4-hour talks between Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and US Vice President Mike Pence, who visited Ankara with a delegation.

The entire text of the joint statement was published by the White House.

Essentially:

  • Turkey is implementing an immediate ceasefire.
  • The two governments committed to safeguard religious and ethnic minorities.
  • Both governments are increasing cooperation to help detain ISIS fighters.
  • Relations between the United States and long-standing NATO ally Turkey have been bolstered.

“Turkey has agreed to pause its offensive for 120 hours to allow the United States to facilitate the withdrawal of YPG forces from the Turkish-controlled safe zone.

Turkey has agreed to a permanent ceasefire upon completion of the YPG withdrawal.  The U.S. has already begun to facilitate the YPG withdrawal from the safe zone area.”

Following the meeting, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said that the 120-hour pause in Operation Peace Spring wasn’t a “ceasefire.”

“Turkey will end the operation in northern Syria only after YPG/PKK terrorists leave [the safe zone],” he said. He further added that for 5 days the operation would be put on pause, but there would be no ceasefire since such an agreement can be made only between two “legitimate sides.”

“When we pause the operation, the U.S. will stop the sanctions attempts, and we can only end the operation after the previous conditions have been met,” he said, adding when the YPG withdraws from the region, then the operation will end.

Turkey and the U.S. “agreed on collecting the heavy weapons of the YPG, destroying their positions and fortifications,” Cavusoglu added.

“The U.S. side, as part of protection of Turkey’s legitimate security interests, acknowledged the importance and functionality of the safe zone,” Cavusoglu said, stressing that it is fully agreed that the safe zone will be under the control of the Turkish Armed Forces. Which, according to him, means that the US accepts the legitimacy of Turkey’s “anti-terror” operation in northeastern Syria.

The Kurdish side praised the agreement and said they accept it. Senior Kurdish official Aldar Khalil welcomed it in an interview.

Completely in denial, Khalil said that Erdogan was forced to compromise and agree “because of Kurdish resistance,” which appears to be untrue, judging by recent events.

SDF commander Mazloum Kobani said that they accept the agreement with Turkey and will do what’s needed to make it succeed. He warned that the ceasefire was the beginning and would not achieve Turkey’s goals.

The Syrian government didn’t seem at all pleased with the prospects the “ceasefire” agreement presented.

Syrian president Bashar al-Assad’s political adviser Bouthaina Shaaban in an interview said that Damascus opposes the idea of an autonomous Kurdistan.

“Of course, we cannot accept it,” Shaaban said, asked if there could be a region similar to Iraqi Kurdistan on its territory.

“There are no grounds for this [Kurdish autonomy] … We will never be able to speak about it from such an angle, since Syria consists of many ethnic and religious layers, and we do not say that someone is a Kurd, or someone follows such and such religion, we simply don’t say that. The majority of the Kurds are a precious part of our society for us, but some Kurdish organizations have made a political decision that is contrary to the interests of the country,” Shaaban stressed.

“The ceasefire agreement announced by the US and Turkey is unclear,” Shaaban said.

“As for the term a ‘security zone,’ it is incorrect: what Turkey really implies is a zone of occupation,” she added.

Separately, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is to visit Russia on October 22nd and discuss the situation in Northeastern Syria with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Erdoğan and Putin will meet in Sochi, the Turkish Presidential Communications Directorate said in an October 16th statement.

Prior to that, on October 17th, Turkey’s Presidential spokesperson received a Russian delegation, led by Alexander Lavrentiev, Russia’s special envoy to Syria.

İbrahim Kalın and Alexander Lavrentiev — accompanied with other members of the delegation — discussed the latest developments in Syria, including Manbij and Idlib, and Turkey’s ongoing counter-terrorism operation in the country.

Both countries agreed to prevent the threat posed by all terror groups, including YPG/PKK-PYD and ISIL, against Syria’s territorial integrity and to maintain the existing cooperation between Turkey and Russia on this subject during the meeting.

On the previous day, Lavrentiev and Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Vershinin, together with representatives from the Russian Ministry of Defense met with the Secretary of the Supreme Council of National Security of Iran A. Shamkhani and consultations with senior assistant to the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Iran for special political issues A. Haji.

The primary topics of the discussions were Yemen and Syria. The central topic was the escalation in the northeastern part of Syria. The general belief was confirmed that the achievement of lasting and long-term stabilization on the eastern bank of the Euphrates River, in Syria and in the region as a whole is possible only on the basis of restoring the country’s sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity.

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  • alexis

    Excellent deal, but only for Turks. To hand Syria territory over to Turkish army without fight, in order to create “safe zone” for placing non-Syrian origin immigrants from Turkey. Pick up all heavy weapons from Kurds, Move Kurdish militia out of safe zone and disband them. All civilian Kurds stay live in safe zone with exception of militia. Every steps will be supervising by Turkish army…I am wonder if the Kurds accept this or not…

    • Rafik Chauhan

      doesn’t matter Kurds are thinking to use SAA and the front barrier but also they are listening to US after they backstab them. Kurds cannot be trusted if they still made a deal with US on ceasefire. it means Kurds can back stab SAA and Russia anytime. and That will be big mistake for this TRaitor kurds .Russia will destroy them Systematicly

  • Johan

    This is a comedy: two headless roosters (Erdogan and Trump )are jumping around on a dung heap killing each others and other chicks and claiming parts of the dung. The trump cock already is driven from the heap but still acts as if he won the jackpot while his women and chicks want to leave him. The other, Erdogan cock last everything included his harem and childern, most of them he locked up himself, but can show of to his neighbours as THE cock on the dungheap. By the way the dung heap is not his because everything he has is given in pawn as guarantee for the debts he made. And in the corner of the farm sits the guard dog Putin reflecting, silently during weeks thinking who he is going to eat, drive from the yard or with gentle force kick of the dung heap. But untill now the cocks are still thinking they made the world. In a corner of the yard is sitting a silk rooster waiting to groom the heap and yard for the watch dog, waiting for the new order. And then hen their is the gently old fighting rooster who fought to free the dung heap before al the others came, but everybody is now picking on him. I think the dog is gone win, the silk rooster is gone remain with the old rooster as his slave and the two headless ones gone disappear.

  • hvaiallverden

    This entire freak show was for Wankeestan dometic abuse, and for Trump at least to have some uh…. deal, and so far, I can judge, nothing is and will change, take an look on the ground, not on what this political rats are squiking, and again, nothing fundamental is changed, etc to the protection are etc to fight the Kurish PKK/Whatevers, but gives Trump an sort of proclamation platform to quell the insane warmongreling Senatwhores, whom is right now, feeding the enemy, and do notise how silent the Euroscums are.

    Wait a day or two and then we will have something more, for now, this was an theater.
    I am not exusing anyone, but the movements on the ground is stil in the line of what I think is been the issue, and Erdogan is of course using this for what He can, etc, but again, I am not in a sort of surpirced, its long term that eventually matters, not theater.

    peace

  • Ivanus59

    Wtf is this circus? The SDF are so used to betraying that they betray themselves even. What kind of a “deal” is this? This is accepting an occupation of the only Kurd-majority places in Syria. I think a precision airstrike against the “SDF” leadership, to wipe them all out would be the best move Syria and Russia could make.

  • Anastasis

    Paris, SANA- French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe has held the US the responsibility for the aggravating situation in northeastern Syria and the region in general.

    AFP News Agency quoted Philippe as saying in an answer to questions on the Turkish offensive in Syria “Those who took these decisions bear a huge responsibility in the region and these catastrophic decisions will have very dangerous consequences.”

    He considered that the “chaos which has started to appear will facilitate the return of Daesh (ISIS) terrorist organization.”

    Philippe affirmed that these decisions will have catastrophic impacts on civilians and the process of searching for a political solution to the crisis in Syria.

    International condemnations of the Turkish offensive on the Syrian territories have continued, and they have affirmed that the aggression represents a dangerous act against a sovereign state and a violation of the principles of the international law.

    Ruaa al-Jazaeri

  • Joe Dickson

    The Kurds aren’t taking orders from the US anymore. Negotiating for someone that isn’t listening means nothing.

  • zman

    Just when you think you’ve seen it all…those 4 points in the WH press release are the epitome of a bad joke. A cease-fire that isn’t, wow, great deal! Khalil and Kobani are idiots who would be better off keeping their mouths shut. What this 5 day non-cease fire is supposed to do is questionable at best. Are they are doing the cease-fire thing to regroup, each thinking it will benefit them both? Both would be idiots and should keep exterminating each other. More likely the rapid advance of the SAA wasn’t what they (US, Turkey) expected to happen. Now they want to stop and make adjustments to the plan…and the Kurds…accepting this ‘plan’?…so much for joining up with SAA, huh? Kinda looks like they weren’t ever serious at all. How could any group be so short-sighted and stupid? If you idiots want a decent outcome to all your backstabbing and deceit…join with the SAA and stay there. Otherwise, SAA should consolidate their positions and do to the Kurds as everyone else does (including their own commanders) use them, then toss them. The Kurds propensity for screwing themselves is as boundless as the US and Turks propensity to lie, cheat and steal. When Erdo gets to Sochi, he’ll find out what he can and cannot do…regardless of what toothless Pence threatens or offers.