US News: Turkey agrees to Syria ceasefire: Vice President Mike Pence - - PressFrom - United Kingdom
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US News Turkey agrees to Syria ceasefire: Vice President Mike Pence

21:15  17 october  2019
21:15  17 october  2019 Source:   abcnews.go.com

Turkey says ground forces have crossed over into northern Syria

  Turkey says ground forces have crossed over into northern Syria Turkish ground forces and a Syrian militia group have crossed over into northern Syria, as part of a military operation against Kurdish forces, Turkey's Ministry of National Defense announced Wednesday."The Turkish Armed Forces and the Syrian National Army have launched the land operation into the east of the Euphrates river as part of the Operation Peace Spring," the ministry said on Twitter.The Turkish Armed Forces and the Syrian National Army have launched the land operation into the east of the Euphrates river as part of the Operation Peace Spring," the ministry said on Twitter.

Mike Pompeo, Mike Pence standing in front of a flag: Vice President Mike Pence speaks during a news conference, as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo looks on, at the U.S. Embassy in Ankara, Turkey, Oct. 17, 2019. © Huseyin Aldemir/Reuters Vice President Mike Pence speaks during a news conference, as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo looks on, at the U.S. Embassy in Ankara, Turkey, Oct. 17, 2019.

Turkey has agreed to a ceasefire in northern Syria between its forces and their allied rebels and U.S.-backed Syrian Kurds, Vice President Mike Pence announced.

Pence met with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Thursday to push for the ceasefire.

"It will be a pause in military operation for 120 hours, while the United States facilitates the withdrawal of YPG (the People's Protection Units) from the affected areas in the safe zone. And 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," Pence said at a news conference.

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"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, I'm very confident of that," he added.

Mike Pence et al. standing in a room: Vice President Mike Pence speaks during a news conference, as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo looks on, at the U.S. Embassy in Ankara, Turkey, Oct. 17, 2019. © Huseyin Aldemir/Reuters Vice President Mike Pence speaks during a news conference, as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo looks on, at the U.S. Embassy in Ankara, Turkey, Oct. 17, 2019.

Erdogan had repeatedly rejected the idea, saying his government would not negotiate with what it considers a terrorist organization.

The high-level diplomacy comes one day after President Donald Trump dismissed concerns about the violent clashes: "That's between Turkey and Syria, it's not between Turkey and the United States, like a lot of stupid people would like us to, would like you to believe," he said in the Oval Office Wednesday.

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Mike Pence, Recep Tayyip Erdogan standing next to a person in a suit and tie: Vice President Mike Pence, left, and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan pose for photos before their talks at the presidential palace, in Ankara, Turkey, on Oct. 17, 2019. © Presidential Press Service via AP, Pool Vice President Mike Pence, left, and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan pose for photos before their talks at the presidential palace, in Ankara, Turkey, on Oct. 17, 2019.

Trump has come under withering criticism by Republicans and Democrats for withdrawing U.S. forces from Syria, after initially pulling back two attachments of troops in advance of Turkey's operation against the Syrian Kurds.

That was seen as giving a green light to Erdogan to attack the Kurds that had been armed by and fought alongside the U.S. against ISIS, losing 11,000 troops in that battle. Turkey considers these forces, known as the Syrian Democratic Forces, or SDF, to be terrorists, indistinguishable from Kurdish separatists in Turkey that Turkey and the U.S. both have designated as terrorists. 

Tensions in Syria [Photos]

Trump denied Wednesday that he had given a green light, saying he could not have stopped Turkey: "There was never given a green light. They've been wanting to do that for years and, frankly, they’ve been fighting for many, many years."

In ‘Cave-In,’ Trump Cease-Fire Cements Turkey’s Gains in Syria

  In ‘Cave-In,’ Trump Cease-Fire Cements Turkey’s Gains in Syria WASHINGTON — The cease-fire agreement reached with Turkey by Vice President Mike Pence amounts to a near-total victory for Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who gains territory, pays little in penalties and appears to have outmaneuvered President Trump. Editor’s note: The opinions in this article are the author’s, as published by our content partner, and do not represent the views of MSN or Microsoft.

Rhema Marvanne riding on the back of a motorcycle: Displaced people, fleeing from the countryside of the Syrian Kurdish town of Ras al-Ain along the border with Turkey, ride a motorcycle together along a road on the outskirts of the nearby town of Tal Tamr on Oct. 16, 2019. © Delil Souleiman/AFP via Getty Images Displaced people, fleeing from the countryside of the Syrian Kurdish town of Ras al-Ain along the border with Turkey, ride a motorcycle together along a road on the outskirts of the nearby town of Tal Tamr on Oct. 16, 2019.

Pence and Erdogan met in Turkey's capital Ankara for one hour and 20 minutes -- a one-on-one meeting that was originally scheduled to last just 10 minutes. In footage released by Turkish state media, Pence shook hands with the strongman president and said, "Thanks for seeing me."

Pence was joined by U.S. special envoy for Syria Jim Jeffrey, a veteran diplomat who previously served as ambassador to Turkey and served as translator during the meeting.

Later, the full delegations met, including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and National Security Adviser Robert O'Brien from the U.S. side and Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu from Turkey. No one spoke during a brief photo op at the start, even after one reporter asked whether they'd agreed on a ceasefire.

James Franklin Jeffrey, Robert C. O'Brien, Mike Pompeo standing next to a man in a suit and tie: Vice President Mike Pence, poses for a photo before leaving the U.S. Ambassador's residence in Ankara, Turkey, en route to the Presidential Palace for talks on the Kurds and Syria, on Oct. 17, 2019. © Jacquelyn Martin/AP Vice President Mike Pence, poses for a photo before leaving the U.S. Ambassador's residence in Ankara, Turkey, en route to the Presidential Palace for talks on the Kurds and Syria, on Oct. 17, 2019.

Trump has sent mixed signals on the operation, at times dismissing any U.S. concern over it, but then also penalizing Turkey with sanctions Monday on its defense, energy, and interior ministers and defense and energy ministries.

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  Pompeo: Trump 'fully prepared' to use military force if necessary President Trump "is fully prepared" to use military force should it be "needed," Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Monday when asked about Turkey's invasion of Syria.CNBC's Wilfred Frost in an interview with Pompeo addressed the recent U.S.-brokered cease-fire in Syria that Ankara had agreed to last week. The journalist asked Pompeo what might warrant a military response.

Rhema Marvanne riding a motorcycle down a dirt road: These displaced people, fleeing from the countryside of the Syrian Kurdish town of Ras al-Ain along the border with Turkey, ride a motorcycle along a road on the outskirts of the nearby town of Tal Tamr on Oct. 16, 2019 as they flee from the Turkish 'Peace Spring' military operation.

The day Turkey launched its offensive last week, Trump admonished Erdogan in a surreal personal letter in which he threatened to be "responsible for destroying the Turkish economy" and said his fellow leader should not be "a tough guy" or a "fool." The letter was first reported by Fox News and later confirmed as accurate to ABC News by a senior administration official.

a screenshot of a cell phone: A letter from President Donald Trump to Turkey's President Tayyip Erdogan, dated Oct. 9, 2019, warning Erdogan about Turkish military policy and the Kurdish people in Syria, after being released by the White House on Oct. 16, 2019. © White House via Reuters A letter from President Donald Trump to Turkey's President Tayyip Erdogan, dated Oct. 9, 2019, warning Erdogan about Turkish military policy and the Kurdish people in Syria, after being released by the White House on Oct. 16, 2019. (MORE: 'Don't be a tough guy': President Trump sent threatening letter to Turkish President Erdogan on day of invasion)

But on Wednesday, just hours before Pence departed for Ankara -- carrying out Trump's directive to try to negotiate a ceasefire -- Trump again said he did not think the United States should get involved. "It's not our border," he told reporters at the White House. "We shouldn't be losing lives over it."

Erdogan told reporters Tuesday that he could not keep up with all the different messages from Trump: “When we take a look at Mr Trump’s Twitter posts, we can no longer follow them," he said, according to Turkish media. "We cannot keep track."

a train on a track with smoke coming out of it: In this photo taken from the Turkish side of the border between Turkey and Syria, flames and smoke billow from a fire on a target in Ras al-Ayn, Syria, caused by shelling by Turkish forces, on Oct. 17, 2019. © Cavit Ozgul/AP In this photo taken from the Turkish side of the border between Turkey and Syria, flames and smoke billow from a fire on a target in Ras al-Ayn, Syria, caused by shelling by Turkish forces, on Oct. 17, 2019.

What is clear is that Erdogan has a firm stance against any negotiations, demanding that the Syrian Kurdish forces first lay down their arms and vacate the area.

The back-and-forth has made Pence and his delegation's job difficult, if not impossible, according to critics -- including Republicans.

"The statements by President Trump about Turkey’s invasion being of no concern to us also completely undercut Vice President Pence and Sec. Pompeo's ability to end the conflict," Sen. Lindsey Graham tweeted Wednesday.

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