On Thursday, Vice President Mike Pence announced the US and Turkey had reached a ceasefire deal in northern Syria. The deal is intended to last 5 days (120 hours), giving the US time to evacuate Kurdish SDF forces from the area.
The Kurdish SDF issued a statement later in the day, saying that they are willing to abide by the ceasefire and leave all the areas in the safe zone, which US officials say Turkey will be in charge of.
This all seems like it’s going to calm things down, for at least a few days, but it’s not clear Turkey intends to totally stop its advance at the safe zone, and it’s unlikely the SDF would cede any more territory.
Since Turkey’s President Erdogan ruled out any ceasefire just the day before, Turkey was eager to downplay the deal as something short of a ceasefire, saying it couldn’t be a real ceasefire because they don’t consider the US a legitimate party in the fighting.
The other question in this deal is the Assad government, which is not a party to the deal, and faulted it as vague and confusing. The SDF had already given Assad’s forces two cities, and Syria presumably intends to keep those, not let Turkey and its rebel allies overrun them.
The overall US-Turkey deal was 13 terms, though it included lip-service to them both being fellow NATO members and other insignificant clauses. The meaningful terms were:
6. Turkey and the US agree that counter-terrorism operations must target only terrorists and their hideouts, shelters, emplacements, weapons, vehicles, and equipment.
7. The Turkish side expressed its commitment to ensure safety and well-being of residents of all population centers in the safe zone controlled by the Turkish Forces (safe zone) and reiterated that maximum care will be exercised in order not to cause harm to civilians and civilian infrastructure.
10. The safe zone will be primarily enforced by the Turkish Armed Forces and the two sides will increase their cooperation in all dimensions of its implementation.
11.The Turkish side will pause Operation Peace Spring in order to allow the withdrawal of YPG from the safe zone within 120 hours. Operation Peace Spring will be halted upon completion of this withdrawal.
12. Once Operation Peace Spring is paused, the US agrees not to pursue further imposition of sanctions under the Executive Order of October 14, 2019, Blocking Property and Suspending Entry of Certain Persons Contributing to the Situation in Syria, and will work and consult with Congress, as appropriate, to underline the progress being undertaken to achieve peace and security in Syria, in accordance with UNSCR 2254. Once Operation Peace Spring is halted as per paragraph 11 the current sanctions under the aforementioned Executive Order shall be lifted.
In short, Turkey stops attacking and the US won’t impose new sanctions. It’s not clear whether the US intends to actually comply with that, however, with the administration already discussing additional sanctions.
16 thoughts on “US, Turkey Reach Ceasefire Deal: Kurdish SDF Will Abide by Plan”
There are puzzling elements in this text.
One — that SDF gave two cities to Syrian government.
I am assuming Kobane and Manbij. But it is whole lots more than that. Besides a long list of smaller places, but also Raqqa and the town by the dam. Probably Hassakah, Quemishl.
The point is — other then Kobane that has majority Kurdish population, other towns are nit theirs to give. As Erdogan said, those city belong to their rightful owners.
So, I would like to know — which another town or area SDF controls along border that it will not want to give to eitherTurkey or Syria? Certainly NOT any Kurd majority area. As for other places, throughout Euphrates Valley., or Deir Azzor — those are over 95% Arab populated.
Neither Manbij nor Raqqa are populated by large percentage of Kurds. Throughout Syria average is less then 5%.
Kobane area in North East is not large enough to field a large army. SDF holding such vast territory was always an illusion. The illusion was maintained by US Air Force that prevented the Arab majority area reuniting with Syria.
The agreement does not say where will these YPG fighters go. Turkey made a good deal, as flushing out militants from urban areas requires time consuming tactics. And civilians get hurt.
However, Turkey will manage the area, and it is unclear what role US will want for itself. There are no other places in need of protection. Turkey holds Afrin, and Jarabulus to Al-Bab corridor.
Turkey has a problem with its Syrian forces, as many of those would like to go back and reclaim their homes that Kurds took in Manbij and elsewhere. It is for the best that Government took it — it will prevent vigilante justice.
From the tone of the agreement it looks like US needed a win, however fuzzy. But with Trump — he can blow the gasket again.
He has a win by getting military out — at least partially. He needs to calmly stick to his guns.
People who are not his base — do not speak his language, and may miss just how significant the move is.
I am wondering — why is Congress doing nothing else but foreign policy or attacking Trump because of foreign policy, or obsessing over Mueller probe on foreign policy, impeachment because of foreign policy. Does Congress do anything else ?
Trump has made progress on immigration and trade. Congress does nothing but authorize more wasteful spending…
Well, yes, he’s made “progress” on turning the US into Hoxha-era Albania on immigration and trade.
And signed off on the more wasteful spending, much of which he asked for himself.
He’s no hero of mine, but a chorus of superlatives is the ideal. He seemed much better than did the Maoists in China…
I am not that optimistic. The last round we initiated — out if weakness, China knows a lot about saving face, and the bug agricultural deal is a present. As for other issues — I have little respect for throwing big words around, like currency manipulation, intellectual property theft, etc. There are specific current imbalances — that can be negotiated, there are strategic issues — such as gutting our critical technology and production, snd there are serious problems in telecom. Here, I am mad at big bits like Cisco and other manufacturers of network hardware, as well as chip makers and various telecom operating systems. They were complacent, lazy snd too focused on squeezing work force — destroying innovation in the process. And too stupid to even notice what the competition is up to. Thus, 5G. hardware, chips to support big data, internet of things, operating system that is seamless from hand sets, to robots or refrigerators. Pains me to say, but we will have to compete in these fields – as the idea to give these corporations a helping hand makes me sick. And when we do, with tight reigns on our investment.
But if we fo not — and we are forced to buy advanced technology — we will fall behind in many ikther fields.
And unfortunately— public at large is woefully unaware of real issues. Not good idea keeping populace ignorant.
I would give Trump credit for forcing the country to at least understand the magnitude of immigration problem. But the manner in which it was handled just gives all the Trotskyite internationalists plenty of ammunition to ridicule him. But the problem for ridiculing crowd is — they have no answer, arguing in the name of humanity, pretending not to see the inhumanity visited on our citizens.
On trade, he may have made a progress that I am not aware off, and I do approve of tariffs in principle. But there was no strategy, mostly shooting from hip — blame whoever you want. In my view he waddled into telecom, a battle he cannot win, list big time on agriculture, as he did not anticipate China would retaliate. But the biggest mistake in my view is failure to address the biggest problem — flight of tens of thousands medium and small manufacturing to China? Along with intellectual rights that these companies sold to their Chinese partners who put up the capital to establish manufacturing and global sales. Mind you, the owners profited, and some are not any more involved, just collecting profit share.
One cannot reverse that by ordering them out — they sold their processes, and patents ling time ago. But US must be strategic — and look at the spectrum of technologies and production that must revive. For those put up eye watering tariffs— and establish domestic incentives that would get us back on track.
Problem is — nobody is looking after our common interest, national interest. That has to change. If we do not understand this — nobody can help us. We also practice giveaways to corporations in form of contracts, subsidies, bailouts — making our taxpayers’ owned capital treated as having no value, only private capital has value. This needs to stop — pronto. This is the driver of deficits.
As for who is greater spender — I do not know.
At present, Congress should not be paid, as they are not doing anything to legislatively address many problems from financial sector, crumbling infrastructure, to education.
Not to mention approve dollars for wars. Which they refuse to get involved in.
Trump better not walk back on Syria.
The independents he largely lost already, and any hope he has to reach them is on the war business. But if this turns out muddy, and he continues to flounder — his base alone will not be enough.
I just watched a Republican President say in from of 10’s of thousands of his supporters and many millions on TV that he wants an end to endless wars and stopping the loss of so much blood and treasure. He said to very loud applause. We are going to bring our troops home from this insanity. The President is trying to live up to his campaign promises despite the best efforts of the military industrial complex. and the worst elements of the intelligence communities to stop him.
It is wonderful to see. I hope he does the same in Afghanistan.
President Trump may have triggered a slow settlement and repair of Syria under the aegis of Putin.
Syria is one of the world’s oldest civilized regions. It has many advantages. It can recover. It always has, and will again. It couldn’t be kept down except by constant ongoing destruction of war washing over it.
it is well known that USA and Turkey don’t know anything about international law, rules and principles. Their interrests are over the laws … or (better) they are the law. From what law rule comes the wright of two foreign countries making agreements for the lands of a third country ?
Kurds. USA and the other western regimes unlawfully occupied a territory of the Syrian state. In fact, this territory is much bigger than the territory where Kurds live in nothern Syria. Now they leave it to Turks … . If they want peace they have to go away, every army, and make a non – military zone with the same depth in Turkey. Disarm every one in this territory, ban all the guns, and let people live their lives, if you really want peace and not occupations and killings.
I don’t think Syrian government, Russia, Iran and China would like this unlawful agreement. So the sum of this i am afraid that it will be the creation of a new war .
Looks like the Syrians, thanks to Russia, are well on their way toward reclaiming their oil-producing regions, water, and agricultural lands now that Kurdish fighters have been forced to make peace with Assad and be integrated into the Syrian Army. That’s all the Turks really wanted anyway.
The US is going to have to concede that they’ve lost the regime-change operation they started in Syria under Obama. Congress critters on both sides of the aisle will do some hand-wringing to placate their Zionist masters but eventually will move on to more pressing matters, like the 2020 elections and how to explain the billions that have been wasted on this misadventure in Syria, while not mentioning that it was all for Israel. That’s going to take some mental backflips and forward somersaults but they’ve all been good at that in the past. That’s how they got to where they are now.
Syria is rubbled, millions of refugees….mission accomplished
I agree, Thomas Carlson. The Syrians have Russia to thank for being well on their way to reclaiming their oil-producing areas, water, and agricultural lands now that Kurdish fighters have been forced to make peace with Assad and be integrated into the Syrian Army. That’s really what the Turks wanted anyway,
DJT has already done that .. He didn’t want US troops in Syria in the first place. It was Obama who illegally sent those troops into Syria back in 2013. In December, 2017, DJT announced a total withdrawal of US troops from Syria, but was overridden by Pompous Pompeo and Bonkers Bolton. He eventually had to dump Bonkers for sabotaging his peace agenda too many times, and Pompeo had to change his tune and go along with DJT.
Of course the Kurds will abide. They have no assets, no power of their own, no choice at all. That is one of the things the US liked about them.
Quick deal to let the Turks claim 30km of Syria. This looks like the beginning of the Partition of Syria.
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