On Thursday Both the US and Turkey agreed to a five-day cease-fire in the Turks’ attacks on Kurdish fighters in northern Syria to allow the Kurds to withdraw to roughly 20 miles away from the Turkish border. The arrangement appeared to be a significant embrace of Turkey’s position in the week long conflict.
After hours of negotiation with Turkish President Rajab Tayyab Erdogan, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence said the purpose of his high-level mission was to end the bloodshed caused by Turkey’s invasion of Syria. He remained silent on whether the agreement amounted to a second abandonment of America’s former Kurdish allies in the fight against the Islamic State.
Turkish troops and Turkish-backed Syrian fighters launched their offensive against Kurdish forces in northern Syria a week ago, two days after Trump suddenly announced he was withdrawing the U.S. from the area.But the agreement essentially gives the Turks what they had sought to achieve with their military operation in the first place. After the Kurdish forces are cleared from the safe zone, Turkey has committed to a permanent cease-fire but is under no obligation to withdraw its troops.
Turkey will get relief from sanctions the administration had imposed and threatened to impose since the invasion began, meaning there will be no penalty for the operation.