Turkey agrees on ceasefire plan for next 120 hours but Kurds reject to withdraw

Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the president of Turkey, and Mike Pence, the vice-president of the United States, reached an agreement to stop the operation against the Kurdish forces in northern Syria for the next five days. The agreement came to halt the bloodshed in Syria’s long war. Pence told reporters that the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) would pull back from the safe zone.

Pence said that Turkey agreed on the full ceasefire when the withdrawal of the YPG would be completed. “It will be a pause for 120 hours while the US oversees the withdrawal of the YPG,” Pence added. The YPG is a unit of Kurdish fighters within the SDF. Donald Trump tweeted, “Great news from Turkey. Millions of lives will be saved.”

General Mazloum Kobane, a leader of the SDF, confirmed the ceasefire agreement. He said on local television that it only applied to the areas which saw heavy fight including the towns of Tal Abyad and Ras al-Ayn. No comments came from Damascus and Moscow as they also moved their troops towards the conflicted border. Erdogan will meet Vladimir Putin, the president of Russia, on Tuesday. They will surely discuss the size of the planned buffer zone by Turkey in their meeting in Sochi.

The Turkish forces have achieved their first target of removing the Kurdish-led forces from the border. After the withdrawal of the Kurdish-led forces, the Turkish forces will take charge of the area. The Russian and Syrian government forces have been invited by the SDF to defend their land against the Turkish attack. The agreement between the US and Turkey does not bound Russia and the Syrian government.

Saleh Muslim, a Kurdish leader, said on local television, “Our people did not want this war. We welcome the ceasefire, but we will defend ourselves in the event of any attack.” Aldar Xelil, a senior political leader of Syria, said, “We reject the proposal of Turkey to occupy 30km of Syrian territory.”

Staff writer for the Chicago Morning Star

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