Pence, Pompeo Secure Ceasefire In Syria During Turkey Trip

 

AMBER ATHEY WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT

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Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo successfully secured a ceasefire agreement with Turkey on Thursday, meaning Turkish forces will permanently suspend military operations in northern Syria after allowing Kurdish troops leave the region.

Pence and Pompeo traveled to Turkey to meet with President Erdogan after President Donald Trump promised a withdrawal of U.S. troops from Syria. Almost immediately after the announcement of the withdrawal, Turkey moved into the region and launched attacks against the Kurds.

Turkey agreed after hours of negotiations to pause military operations for 120 hours while Kurdish forces leave the safe zone in Syria, and then stop military operations entirely upon completion of the troop withdrawal.

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“Earlier this week President Trump took decisive action to call on Turkish forces to stand down, to end the violence, to agree to negotiations,” Pence told reporters during a  press conference in Ankara, Turkey. “And today I’m proud to report, thanks to the strong leadership of President Donald Trump and the strong relationship between President Erdogan and Turkey and the United States of America, that today the United States and Turkey have agreed to a ceasefire in Syria.”

Pence indicated that the U.S. threatened to place stronger sanctions on Turkey if they did not agree to a ceasefire, and that the only concession the U.S. made during negotiations was to lift the sanctions that were already in place against some Turkish officials. (RELATED: Trump Authorizes Sanctions Against Turkey In Response To Syria Invasion)

In addition to the ceasefire, Turkey agreed to help the U.S. continue to fight ISIS in the region and “coordinate efforts on detention facilities.”

Erdogan previously ignored a threat from Trump that he would destroy the Turkish economy if the country decided to invade Syria.

Trump reacted positively to the news of the ceasefire, tweeting that it’s a “great day for civilization.”

“This is a great day for civilization,” Trump wrote. “I am proud of the United States for sticking by me in following a necessary, but somewhat unconventional, path. People have been trying to make this “Deal” for many years. Millions of lives will be saved. Congratulations to ALL!”

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