Turkey agreed on Thursday to a temporary ceasefire in northern Syria, where it has moved its forces in against the Kurds, who are still reeling from what they say is a betrayal by the United States after U.S. President Donald Trump abruptly withdrew military forces last week from the area.
Following a five-hour meeting in Ankara between U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Pence announced the five-day halt, which would consist of YPG forces withdrawing from northern Syria and, in return, Turkey would agree to a permanent ceasefire “to make sure peace and stability are the order of the day in this safe zone.”
“Our team is already working with YPG personnel in the safe zone for an orderly withdrawal outside the 20-mile mark, and we’re going to go forward together to bring peace and security to this region,” he said. “I’m very confident of that.”
Pence mentioned that U.S. sanctions against Turkey would be removed once a permanent ceasefire takes effect, and that Turkey fight ISIS and work with the United States to secure ISIS prisoners.
At least 1,000 ISIS prisoners have already escaped since the Turkish incursion, which started following an Oct. 6 phone call between U.S. President Donald Trump and Erdoğan.
In the matter of days, nearly 200,000 people have fled the area, and more than 200 civilians have been killed.