US News: In ‘Cave-In,’ Trump Cease-Fire Cements Turkey’s Gains in Syria - - PressFrom - United Kingdom
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US News In ‘Cave-In,’ Trump Cease-Fire Cements Turkey’s Gains in Syria

12:45  20 october  2019
12:45  20 october  2019 Source:   msn.com

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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 .

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 . © Huseyin Aldemir/Reuters

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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.

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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 .

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 nytimes.com/2019/10/17/world/middleeast/ trump -pence- syria - turkey - ceasefire .html.

Mike Pompeo, Mike Pence standing in front of a flag: Vice President Mike Pence, right, and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo spoke in Ankara, Turkey, and announced a cease-fire between Turkey and Kurdish fighters in Syria. © Huseyin Aldemir/Reuters Vice President Mike Pence, right, and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo spoke in Ankara, Turkey, and announced a cease-fire between Turkey and Kurdish fighters in Syria.

The best that can be said for the agreement is that it may stop the killing in the Kurdish enclave in northern Syria. But the cost for Kurds, longtime American allies in the fight against the Islamic State, is severe: Even Pentagon officials were mystified about where tens of thousands of displaced Kurds would go, as they moved south from the Turkey-Syria border as required by the deal — if they agree to go at all.

And the cost to American influence, while hard to quantify, could be frightfully high.

In the 11 days between Mr. Trump’s fateful phone call with Mr. Erdogan and the trip to Ankara by Mr. Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Thursday, the United States has ceded ground in Syria — including American bases — to the Russian-backed Syrian dictator, Bashar al-Assad. And it has shaken the faith of American allies that, in a time of stress, Washington will have their back.

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American troops would remain in southeastern Syria and would maintain control of the airspace of the entire Nevertheless, Mr. Trump dismissed concerns about the viability of the cease - fire . Turkish -led forces also prevented a convoy of international aid workers from gaining access to Ras

Friday, October 18, 2019. Trump 's Cease - Fire Cements Turkey ' s Gains in Syria . In the 11 days between Mr. Trump 's fateful phone call with Mr. Erdogan and the trip to Ankara by Mr. Pence "This just looks like a complete cave - in by the United States to everything the Turks demanded," said Eric

Turkey-backed Free Syrian Army fighters are seen in their vehicle in al Ajami village in east al Bab, Syria February 3,2018.REUTERS/ Khalil Ashawi © Reuters Turkey-backed Free Syrian Army fighters are seen in their vehicle in al Ajami village in east al Bab, Syria February 3,2018.REUTERS/ Khalil Ashawi

“This just looks like a complete cave-in by the United States to everything the Turks demanded,” said Eric S. Edelman, a former ambassador to Turkey and a senior Defense Department official in the George W. Bush administration. “I don’t see what the Turks gave up.”

In fact, if the sanctions imposed against Turkey by the Trump administration are lifted, as Mr. Pence said they now would be, the Turkish leader would pay a far lower price than Russia did for its annexation of Crimea in 2014. The sanctions imposed on Moscow then are still in place.

A Turkey-backed Syrian rebel fighter stands next to his comrades as they wait to cross into Syria, near the border town of Akcakale in Sanliurfa province, Turkey, October 17, 2019. REUTERS/Murad Sezer © Reuters A Turkey-backed Syrian rebel fighter stands next to his comrades as they wait to cross into Syria, near the border town of Akcakale in Sanliurfa province, Turkey, October 17, 2019. REUTERS/Murad Sezer

But there are other winners in addition to Mr. Erdogan, who has routed the Kurdish groups he views as terrorists who were living in an American protectorate.

Turkey agrees to pause fighting, but not to withdraw forces from northern Syria

  Turkey agrees to pause fighting, but not to withdraw forces from northern Syria Vice President Mike Pence said Thursday that Turkey had agreed to suspend its military operations in northeast Syria for five days while Syrian Kurdish fighters left the area, immediately raising questions about whether the agreement was a diplomatic breakthrough or a capitulation to the Turkish government. Emerging from close to five hours of deliberations with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Pence said that the American delegation had achieved the cease-fire it had hoped to broker in the hastily organized trip to Ankara, the Turkish capital.

In this handout image provided by the Turkish presidency, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Turkey ’ s foreign minister was quick to reject the description of the deal as a “ cease - fire ,” saying Not a bad 10 days’ work for the Turkish leader—not to mention Russia and Assad’s considerable gains .

Read more: Turkey ' s president pulled one over on Trump — and some of the US's most dangerous adversaries are the big winners. Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo traveled to Turkey this week to express concerns over Turkey ' s offensive in Syria . Numerous reports of civilian casualties

Chief among them is President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia, who gains vast influence in a strategic corner of the Middle East where, until 2015, he had almost none. Now, he is a player, and already is filling the territorial and political vacuum that Mr. Trump left after he agreed to get out of the way of the Turkish invasion of Syria, which a small contingent of American Special Operations forces were there to prevent by their very presence.

Iran was also a winner. It has long used Syria as a route to send missiles to Hezbollah and flex its muscles across the region. That, in many ways, is the most perplexing part of the president’s decision to withdraw, because it runs so counter to his “maximum pressure” campaign against Iran’s clerical leaders and the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps.

A Syrian child looks on as a Turkey-backed opposition fighter of the Free Syrian Army secures the streets of the northwestern city of Azaz, Syria, during a Turkish government-organised media tour into northern Syria, Saturday, March 3, 2018. Already in the sixth week of its offensive on the Kurdish-held enclave of Afrin in northwestern Syria, Turkey wants to oust the Syrian Kurdish People's Protection Units, or YPG, from Afrin. It considers the group an extension of a Kurdish insurgency within its own borders.(AP Photo/Emrah Gurel) © Associated Press A Syrian child looks on as a Turkey-backed opposition fighter of the Free Syrian Army secures the streets of the northwestern city of Azaz, Syria, during a Turkish government-organised media tour into northern Syria, Saturday, March 3, 2018. Already in the sixth week of its offensive on the Kurdish-held enclave of Afrin in northwestern Syria, Turkey wants to oust the Syrian Kurdish People's Protection Units, or YPG, from Afrin. It considers the group an extension of a Kurdish insurgency within its own borders.(AP Photo/Emrah Gurel)

And Mr. Assad, who was barely clinging to power after the Arab Spring in 2011, and whose military facilities Mr. Trump bombed in the opening months of his presidency in 2017, has a new lease on life. The Americans are gone from the one corner of his country they once occupied.

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President Donald Trump speaks with reporters about the U. S . and Turkey agreeing to a temporary cease - fire in Syria that could be extended if Kurdish When those guns start shooting they tend to do things. But I will tell you on behalf of the United States I want to thank Turkey . I want to thank all of

Fighting continues in Syria despite Trump 's ' cease - fire ,' Kurds say. Turkey denies clashes. "The Trump administration just capitulated to all of Turkey ’ s original demands after a week of violence and deep harm to America’s credibility in the world," tweeted Kelly Magsamen, who served as a national

Mr. Trump has a different view — no surprise, given the bipartisan critique of his failure to stop Mr. Erdogan during their phone conversation, or threaten sanctions before the invasion, rather than after the facts had changed on the ground.

“I’m happy to report tremendous success with respect to Turkey,” Mr. Trump told reporters after his vice president and secretary of state announced the deal. “This is an amazing outcome. This is an outcome, regardless of how the press would like to damp it down, this was something they were trying to get for 10 years.”

Watch: US hails Turkish cease-fire; Kurds must vacate border area (Associated Press)


Mr. Trump’s joy may reflect a very different worldview than that of his military, his diplomats or the Republican leaders who say he has damaged America’s reputation and influence. While his party, and Democrats, accused him of betraying allies and aiding Russia, Mr. Trump insisted he was simply making good on a campaign promise to bring troops home from “endless wars.”

On Wednesday, as Mr. Pence and Mr. Pompeo were flying to Ankara, Speaker Nancy Pelosi was challenging the president on whether there was any strategic logic to his withdrawal from Syria — especially if it resulted in freeing detained ISIS fighters who might now attack in the region or on the United States.

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The art of the deal (and/or ethnic cleansing). Photo: Handout/Getty Images. Earlier this month, Donald Trump decided to abruptly withdraw U. S . troops from northeastern Syria — and give the Turkish government tacit permission to invade the territory and lay waste to the Kurdish forces who had shed

As fighting continued Friday near the Turkish - Syrian border, President Trump defended the temporary cease - fire deal the US cut with Turkey ’ s Instead, it was always held together with very weak bandaids, & in an artificial manner. There is good will on both sides & a really good chance for success.

On Thursday, recounting her heated discussion with the president at the White House the previous day, she said she asked him how his strategy fit with his announcement last Friday that nearly 3,000 more troops were being deployed to Saudi Arabia. The president responded that the Saudis were paying the cost of that deployment — suggesting that Mr. Trump was happy to commit troops to the highest bidder among American allies, rather than make an independent judgment about their strategic importance.

Republicans also challenged the agreement reached in Ankara.

A Syrian displaced woman, who fled violence after the Turkish offensive in Syria, carries her baby upon arrival at a refugee camp in Bardarash on the outskirts of Dohuk, Iraq October 18, 2019. REUTERS/Ari Jalal © Reuters A Syrian displaced woman, who fled violence after the Turkish offensive in Syria, carries her baby upon arrival at a refugee camp in Bardarash on the outskirts of Dohuk, Iraq October 18, 2019. REUTERS/Ari Jalal

“The announcement today is being portrayed as a victory. It is far from a victory,” Senator Mitt Romney, Republican of Utah, said on the Senate floor Thursday. “Given the initial details of the cease-fire agreement, the administration must also explain what America’s future role will be in the region, what happens now to the Kurds and why Turkey will face no apparent consequences.”

And Mr. Romney noted, “The cease-fire does not change the fact that America has abandoned an ally.”

At the Pentagon on Thursday afternoon, senior officials scrambled to understand how they were supposed to carry out the agreement Mr. Pence and Mr. Erdogan had negotiated.

Several civilian and military officials complained that the broadly worded deal left large policy and logistical gaps to fill, with many questions about how to carry out commitments by the two sides that appeared to contradict the fast-moving situation on the ground.

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The House condemned Trump ' s decision to withdraw U. S . troops from Syria because now Turkey is attacking Kurds, who have been our allies against ISIS. USA TODAY.

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — President Donald Trump framed the U.S.-brokered cease - fire deal with Turkey as “a great day for civilization,” but its effect The agreement requires the Kurds to vacate a swath of territory in Syria along the Turkish border in an arrangement that largely solidifies Turkey ’ s

With the withdrawal of about 1,000 Americans already underway, the officials asked, how would those departing forces conduct counterterrorism operations with the Turkish military, as Mr. Pence insisted they would? Would the Syrian Kurds fully comply with a pullback agreement they had little say in drafting, and in which they were the clear losers?

A youth holds up a Syrian revolutionary flag by the Syrian border on the edge of the town of Akcakale, Sanliurfa province, southeastern Turkey, on Monday, Oct. 14, 2019, a day after Turkish-backed forces took the town from Kurdish fighters. Also Monday, Syrian troops entered several northern towns and villages getting close to the Turkish border as Turkey's army and opposition forces backed by Ankara marched south in the same direction, raising concerns of a clash between the two sides as Turkey's invasion of northern Syria entered its sixth day. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis) © Associated Press A youth holds up a Syrian revolutionary flag by the Syrian border on the edge of the town of Akcakale, Sanliurfa province, southeastern Turkey, on Monday, Oct. 14, 2019, a day after Turkish-backed forces took the town from Kurdish fighters. Also Monday, Syrian troops entered several northern towns and villages getting close to the Turkish border as Turkey's army and opposition forces backed by Ankara marched south in the same direction, raising concerns of a clash between the two sides as Turkey's invasion of northern Syria entered its sixth day. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)

Their questions did not stop there. How large and how deep is the buffer area inside Syria that was supposed to give Turkey a safe zone between its border and the Kurdish fighters? The original safe zone that the United States and Turkey envisioned was 75 miles long and roughly 20 miles deep. But it was upended by Mr. Trump’s acquiescence to the invasion, and now Turkish forces have pushed beyond that.

And what about Mr. Assad’s forces and their Russian allies — to whom the abandoned Syrian Kurds reached out to after the American abandoned them?

It also remains unknown whether Turkey will be required to withdraw all or some of its forces sent across a sovereign border into Syria. (One official said a reason Turkey agreed to the deal on Thursday is because the Kurds have put up more resistance, and Turkish forces could not advance south any farther as a result.)

Turkish-backed Syrian opposition fighters on a pick up truck, drive past a graffiti of modern Turkey's founder Mustafa Kemal Ataturk as they cross the border between Turkey and Syria, in Akcakale, Sanliurfa province, southeastern Turkey, Thursday, Oct. 17, 2019. (AP Photo/Emrah Gurel) © Associated Press Turkish-backed Syrian opposition fighters on a pick up truck, drive past a graffiti of modern Turkey's founder Mustafa Kemal Ataturk as they cross the border between Turkey and Syria, in Akcakale, Sanliurfa province, southeastern Turkey, Thursday, Oct. 17, 2019. (AP Photo/Emrah Gurel)

Several Pentagon and State Department officials and military officers who have worked on Syria policy or deployed to the country’s northwest expressed shock, outrage and disbelief at the administration’s second major capitulation to Mr. Erdogan in less than two weeks.

These officials said Mr. Erdogan was the big winner, and appeared to have gotten everything he wanted.

Military officials said they were stunned that the agreement essentially allowed Turkey to annex a portion of Syria, displace tens of thousands of Kurdish residents and wipe away years of counterterrorism gains against the Islamic State.

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