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Pence: We've Managed to Cut a Deal in Turkey

The vice president and Mike Pompeo went to Ankara to negotiate
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 17, 2019 1:40 PM CDT
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Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo hold a news conference at the Ambassador's residence after meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at the Presidential Palace, Thursday, Oct. 17, 2019, in Ankara, Turkey.   (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

(Newser) – Looks like Turkey's invasion of Syria may be short-lived, ABC News reports. The country's president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, agreed Thursday to halt the invasion for five days while Kurdish fighters leave a safe zone in northern Syria: "It will be a pause in military operation for 120 hours, while the United States facilitates the withdrawal of YPG (a mostly Kurdish militia) from the affected areas in the safe zone," said Vice President Mike Pence, who had been sent to Ankara with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to negotiate a deal. "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."

The deal is that President Trump won't impose any more sanctions on Turkey and—when a permanent ceasefire is announced—will withdraw sanctions inflicted on the country last week, per the New York Times. (Sanctions had been placed on three ministers and two federal departments in Turkey, per CBS News.) This means the Kurdish militia has 120 hours to abandon a safe zone that extends roughly 20 miles below the Turkish-Syrian border. Pence said the White House was opposed to Turkey's invasion, but US officials also sympathized with Turkey's view that Kurdish fighters are a terrorist group. Trump responded happily: "Great news out of Turkey," he tweeted. "...Thank you to @RTErdogan. Millions of lives will be saved!" (Read more Syria stories.)

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