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Pause In Turkey’s Syria Incursion Largely Holding On 1st Day


Fighting continued early Friday in a northeast Syrian border town at the center of the fight in between Turkey and Kurdish forces, regardless of a U.S.-brokered cease-fire that went into impact overnight.
Emrah Gurel/AP
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Emrah Gurel/AP

Fighting continued early Friday in a northeast Syrian border town at the center of the fight in between Turkey and Kurdish forces, regardless of a U.S.-brokered cease-fire that went into impact overnight.
Emrah Gurel/AP

A U.S.-brokered deal with Turkey to pause its campaign against Kurdish fighters in northern Syria seems to be largely holding on its initial day, regardless of scattered reports of continued fighting.
An official from the Kurdish Red Crescent told NPR’s Daniel Estrin that there have been Turkish airstrikes on Friday, mainly centered about a single border town, Ras al-Ayn. “There are some clashes we’re hearing about close to a the hospital exactly where there are nevertheless some sufferers becoming treated,” Estrin says. A spokesperson for Turkish-backed forces described them as “minor clashes.”
President Trump stated he spoke with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan Friday, who told him “there was minor sniper and mortar fire that was immediately eliminated.”
The deal was reached Thursday immediately after a lot more than 5 hours of negotiation in between Erdogan and U.S. Vice President Mike Pence. It makes it possible for 120 hours for Kurdish YPG fighters to withdraw from the “protected zone” along Turkey’s border with Syria, with out explicitly stating the size of the zone. Just after that protected zone is cleared, the agreement says Turkey’s military operation will be absolutely halted.

The YPG fighters have been important allies of the U.S. for years in the fight against ISIS. Turkey considers them terrorists linked to organizations inside Turkey that carry out attacks against the Turkish government.
On Friday, Erdogan stressed that Turkey is ready to continue to fight.
“If the United States is in a position to maintain the promises it gave us by Tuesday evening, at the finish of the 120-hour period, the concern of a protected zone will have been resolved,” the Turkish president stated, according to The Linked Press. “But if this guarantee is not kept, with out exception, the minute the 120 hours finish, our Operation Peace Spring will resume from exactly where it left off in an even a lot more determined way.”
The U.S. has promised not to impose new sanctions on Turkey and to elevator other sanctions imposed not too long ago after the Turkish military operation is absolutely halted.
But the U.S. does not seem to have a important function on the ground. U.S. forces had been in the method of withdrawing from northern Syria when the deal was announced. U.S. forces even bombed their major military base there to destroy any remaining ammunition. In a statement Friday, Secretary of Defense Mark Esper stated that “no U.S. ground forces will participate in the enforcement of this protected zone,” but will “stay in communication” with Turkey and Kurdish forces.
It is also not clear irrespective of whether the Kurdish forces are in fact withdrawing from the border. Kurdish military leader Mazlum Kobani stated Thursday that the forces would comply with the cease-fire, although he did not state irrespective of whether they planned to move.
“Truly the deal provides Turkey anything it desires,” Estrin reported. The Turkish government desires to clear the location of Kurdish fighters and resettle up to two million Syrian refugees there.
The deal itself is drawing criticism from significant international players such as European Council President Donald Tusk. As the AP reported, he described it as “not a cease-fire, it is a demand for the capitulation of the Kurds.”

The Turkish offensive started immediately after President Trump all of a sudden announced the withdrawal of U.S. forces from the location final week, following a contact with Erdogan. The shift in policy drew swift criticism from U.S. lawmakers in each parties.
“It was unconventional what I did,” Trump stated at a rally on Thursday. “I stated, they are going to have to fight a tiny whilst. … Like two children in a lot, you have got to let them fight and then you pull them apart.”
Brett McGurk, Trump’s former envoy for the international coalition to counter ISIS, called that “an obscene and ignorant statement.”
“The reality is that we are now leaving Syria in the most shambolic way imaginable,” he stated in an interview with NPR. He stated that by leaving Syria, the U.S. has forfeited a great deal of its capability to influence the predicament on the ground.
“I feel the Americans, at this point, are a sideshow,” McGurk stated. “And I feel anybody who thinks that we can meaningfully manage or influence this predicament is mistaken. We may possibly be in a position to purchase some pauses right here and there, but this will now be worked out by other powers as we evacuate the nation.”
Given that the offensive began, the U.N. says a lot more than 170,000 folks have been displaced. Hundreds of them are streaming more than Syria’s border with Iraq, seeking for refuge.

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