Mike Pence US Department of Defense

US Says Turkey Has Agreed To Ceasefire In Syria

It comes after a high-level meeting of a US delegation with Turkish officials in Ankara.

Mike Pence US Department of Defense

Library image of US Vice President, Mike Pence (Picture: US Department of Defense).

Turkey has agreed to a ceasefire in northern Syria to allow US-allied Syrian Kurds to withdraw, US Vice President Mike Pence has said.

Mr Pence led a delegation which met with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at the Presidential Palace in Ankara.

The US Vice President said there will be "a pause in military operations for 120 hours" so Kurdish forces can withdraw from the area along the Turkish border.

He added the US and Turkey have "mutually committed to peaceful resolution and future for the safe zone".

The 5-day ceasefire will be made permanent once the Kurdish-forces have pulled out of the area, the White House said. 

The Turks began a military invasion of Syria on 9 October, following the announcement the US would withdraw its troops from the north of the country.

Smoke rises from the Syrian city of Ras al Ain following an attack from Turkey 101019 CREDIT PA
Smoke rises from Syrian city of Ras al-Ayn following an attack from Turkey (Picture: PA).

The withdrawal drew widespread criticism, with suggestions America's absence would facilitate the return of so-called Islamic State (IS) in the region.

Others claimed it would effectively offer a ‘green light’ to Turkish forces in their attempt to move into the area, and would amount to abandonment of Kurdish allies who fought alongside the US in the fight against IS in Syria.

Turkish forces have been hitting suspected Syrian Kurdish positions in the north-east of the country.

Turkey's government is opposed to allowing the Kurds to create an autonomous state in Syria as it considers Kurdish-led forces as "terrorists".

The ceasefire follows an overwhelming defeat for US President Donald Trump in the US House of Representatives, who voted 354-60 to oppose the withdrawal.

It came after comments from Mr Trump relieving the US of any responsibility.

Turkey's President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, had rejected earlier calls from President Trump for a ceasefire.