ANKARA: As a result of an attack carried out by the Kurdish YPG today in the northeast Syrian city of Tel Abyad one Turkish soldier lost his life while other got seriously injured.This incidence, that happened despite a deal to pause operations as militant withdraw from the area shows how fragile the US-arbitrated truce could prove to be. It is pertinent to recall here that Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan had agreed on Thursday (17th day of October, 2019) in parleys with US Vice President Mike Pence a five-day pause in the offensive in order to allow time for the Kurdish fighters to withdraw from a Safe Zone.
Since SDF the main component of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces is regarded by Ankara as a terrorist group due to its connection with the insurgents in South-East Turkey, Ankara wants creation of a Buffer Zone near its border with North-East Syria.
Just the way Afghan Taliban were used by US to fight their war against USSR, YPG was also utilized by Uncle Sam to contain the militant group known as Islamic State or IS. Trump Administration that announced withdrawal of US troops from Syria before the commencement of a full scale war was criticized of leaving its ally YPG high and dry the way US left Taliban in Afghanistan after using them. Then there was another issue regarding those thousands of IS prisoners and their families in custody of YPG. What if they escape and restart the terror campaign.
According to the Turkish defense ministry an attack by the YPG with anti-tank and light weapons had struck Turkish soldiers carrying out a reconnaissance and surveillance mission in Tel Abyad today (20th of October, 2019): “The immediate response based on self-defense was given. Despite the Safe Zone Agreement with the United States… 20 harassment/violations were committed by PKK/YPG terrorists.”
A relevant piece published earlier:
Turkey would crush Kurdish forces if pullout did not happen: Erdogan
ISTANBUL: President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has warned here today that if Kurdish forces did not withdraw from a proposed safe zone along the border Turkey would crush the heads of Kurdish forces.
Turkish president who had agreed to a US brokered deal about withdrawal of Kurdish forces warned in a televised speech: “If the pullout does not happen by Tuesday (22nd day of October, 2019) evening, we will start where we left off and continue to crush the terrorists´ heads”.
Nevertheless, despite warning that he would closely monitor the operation, President Erdogan has announced today that the evacuation of Kurdish fighters and the positions that they control in the border region with Turkey had started. His statement confirmed that the evacuation process was taking place the way it was visualized by the brokers of the deal.
Erdogan reiterated that the safe area agreed upon with the US would be thirty-two kilometers in depth and 440 kilometers in length including the eastern region of the Euphrates extending to the border with Iraq. He said that Turkish troops would stay put in the field till evacuation completed.
Turkish Defense Minister has assured the President that there were no clashes between Turkish and Kurdish forces.
Turkey agrees to 5-day ceasefire in N. Syria
ANKARA: US Vice President Mike Pence has announced that Ankara had agreed on a cease-fire in Syria, days after its forces launched an offensive in northern Syria.
President Donald Trump took to the Twitter to state: “Good News out of Turkey. News Conference shortly with VP and Sec. Pompeo. Thank you to RTErdogan. Millions of lives will be saved!”
Pence alongside Secretary of State Mike Pompeo here has informed today that there will be a pause in military operations for 120 hours while the US facilitates the withdrawal of the People’s Protection Units (or YPG, that had been a major component of the US-led effort to combat Islamic State in Syria and had wound up in control of approximately a third of the country) from the affected areas in the safe zone. And once that is completed, Turkey has agreed to a permanent ceasefire.
Pence held: “The Turkish side will pause Operation Peace Spring in order to allow for the withdrawal of YPG forces from the safe zone for 120 hours. All military operations under Operation Peace Spring will be paused, and Operation Peace Spring will be halted entirely on completion of the withdrawal.” Pence further informed that US forces in the region had already begun to facilitate a safe disengagement of YPG units. The deal also provided for Ankara not to engage in military operations in the Syrian border town of Kobani.
According to VP Pence US and Turkey had committed to a peaceful resolution of Ankara’s demand for a safe zone in northern Syria near Turkey’s border, one of the objectives of the Turkish offensive. It is pertinent to mention here that Turkey views the YPG as a security threat due to its ties to separatist Kurds in Turkey. That’s why it attacked Syria to the group back back from its border. Globally it has been asked what would happen to tens of thousands of Islamic State fighters and their families in Kurdish custody.
Pence added that he had spoken to US President Donald Trump after the talks and that Trump had expressed his gratitude for the ceasefire accord.