Turkey agrees to a 5-day ceasefire as Kurdish fighters are allowed to safely evacuate the ‘Safe Zone‘ area in Northern Syria.
Vice President Mike Pence had been sent to Turkey to work on a deal with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan that would bring the violent offensive to a stop. Pence said, “It will be a pause in military operations for 120 hours while the United States facilitates the withdrawal of the YPG from the affected areas in the safe zone. And once that is completed, Turkey has agreed to a permanent cease-fire”.
Pence went on to state that, “Part of our understanding is that with the implementation of the ceasefire, the United States will not impose any further sanctions on Turkey. And once a permanent ceasefire is in effect, the President has agreed to withdraw the economic sanctions that were imposed this last Monday”.
The announcement drew an immediate response from Congressional Republicans and Democrats alike:
- Republican Senator Mitt Romney from Utah said, “The announcement today is being portrayed as a victory. It is far from a victory. Serious questions remain about how the decision was reached precipitously to withdraw from Syria and why that decision was reached”.
- Democratic Senator Maggie Hassan from New Hampshire said, “The agreement lets Turkey off the hook for slaughtering innocent civilians and the Kurdish troops who fought alongside American soldiers against ISIS. Moreover, it does nothing to recapture the hundreds of ISIS soldiers who have already escaped from Kurdish-held prisons”.
- Republican Senator Marco Rubio from Florida said, “I’m not sure why anyone would think they are safer. These are their ancestral homes in many cases that they’ve been driven from and they may not be able to return to them. There are some mistakes that are not easy to reverse and some are irreversible”.
- Democratic Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi of California and Democratic Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York said, “The President’s decision to reverse sanctions against Turkey for brutally attacking our Kurdish partners in exchange for a sham ceasefire seriously undermines the credibility of America’s foreign policy and sends a dangerous message to our allies and adversaries alike that our word cannot be trusted”.
- Republican Senator Lindsey Graham from South Carolina said, “I just think if ISIS does come back, it is going to be to the president’s detriment”.
The overall consensus from both Democrats and Republicans is that the deal concedes mostly to Turkey’s demands.
In response to the ceasefire agreement, President Trump went on to state that, “Millions of lives will be saved.”