Turkey, US Agree to 120 Hour Ceasefire in Northern Syria

Pence: Pause will allow US to withdraw Kurdish YPG from safe zone

One day after Turkey’s President Erdogan said there was no possibility for a ceasefire in northern Syria, Vice President Mike Pence announced that the US and Turkey have reached exactly that, albeit in the form of a brief, 120 hour ceasefire.

Under the deal, Turkey and its associated rebel factions will halt all military operations, and the US will act to “facilitate the withdrawal of YPG” forces from the safe zone area that Turkey is now claiming.

Pence also said that once the US successfully does this, Turkey would accept a permanent ceasefire. He made this announcement at the US Embassy in Ankara.

Turkey’s Foreign Minister, however, said that there is no ceasefire at all, and that Turkey doesn’t believe a ceasefire could happen except “between two legitimate sides.” He said that that the pause was to destroy Kurdish positions and seize Kurdish weapons.

This likely reflects that Turkey’s government, long itching for a war with the YPG, is very reluctant to return to a non-war situation. Though they may accept disarmament and pushback of the Kurds from the 30 km, it’s not clear that’s where Turkey intends to stop.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for Antiwar.com. He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.