Turkish-backed forces, Kurds clash despite Syria cease-fire

US President Donald Trump listens to questions during a joint news conference with Italian President Sergio Mattarella in the East Room of the White House in Washington DC on Oct 16 2019

Syria ceasefire: Trump administration strike deals with President Erdogan today after meeting with Pompeo and Pence

Turkey has agreed to suspend its Syria offensive for five days and to end the assault if Kurdish-led forces withdraw from the proposed safe zone away from the border, after talks with US Vice President Mike Pence in Ankara.

Reports of new fighting in northern Syria hours after Vice President Pence announced a cease-fire; reaction and analysis from Stephen Yates, former deputy national security adviser to Vice President Dick Cheney.

Turkey will set up a dozen observation posts across northeast Syria, President Tayyip Erdogan said on Friday, insisting that a planned "safe zone" will extend much further than US officials said was covered under a fragile ceasefire deal.

"It is in our interest that the American forces remain to maintain balance in Syria".

"We got what we wanted", Cavusoglu said.

"Pro-Turkish Syrian Arab fighters have surrounded the town".

Turkey claims it is living up to the terms of the cease-fire agreement and accused the Kurds of violating it.

Trump also heaped praise on Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and said it would no longer be necessary to impose U.S. sanctions on Turkey.

The Turkish assault began on October 9 after Trump moved USA troops out of the way after an October 6 phone call with Erdogan.

Trump tweeted: "Great news out of Turkey". He said the Kurds had rejected the Turkish safe zone in the past. "Millions of lives will be saved!"

He also praised Turkey's president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Trump said on Friday that "some" European countries, which he did not name, "are now willing, for the first time, to take the (captured IS) Fighters that came from their nations".

But the announcement brought a blistering denunciation from a leading member of Trump's party. Turkey, we're doing very, very well with Turkey.

"This is one of the topics that we will discuss with the Russians, because, again, we are not going to force any refugees to go to anywhere they don't want to go", he said.

Once a permanent ceasefire is achieved, Pence said the President would withdraw the sanctions that were placed on Turkey in the last week.

Trump stressed that "not one drop of American blood" was shed. Before the talks, the Kurds indicated they would object to any agreement along the lines of what was announced by Pence.

The planned safe zone would extend more than 30 km (20 miles) deep into Syria. "And it was a matter of discussion and negotiations", he said at his news conference.

"We have restarted military action against IS cells in Deir Ezzor".

Pence avoided answering, however, when asked by reporters where the Kurdish forces would withdraw to.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, backed by Moscow and Tehran, has already deployed his forces in territory formerly protected by Washington, invited by the Kurds.

The agreement also does not say what protections, if any, the Turks would provide to Kurdish civilians if the militia groups pulled out of the border region.

Turkey Saturday accused the SDF of fourteen harassment attacks since the ceasefire began Thursday night.

Despite those questions, Sen.

While the House resolution just expressed disapproval, the bill being introduced in the Senate by Republican Senator Lindsey Graham and Democratic Senator Chris Van Hollen has actual teeth, imposing wide-ranging mandatory sanctions on Turkey. Cavusoglu said Turkey had given no commitments about Kobani. After carrying out airstrikes, Turkish ground troops later invaded northeastern Syria.

"Deeply damaging to USA credibility, not just because Trump betrayed the Kurds but because it once again makes Trump look like a paper tiger: after all his big threats to Turkey he gave it everything it wanted for nearly nothing in return", Gordon said.

The Kurds were the biggest USA ally helping to defeat ISIS in northern Syria. Trump had disparaged the Kurdish forces in comments he made Wednesday, comparing them to "terrorists".

Pence and Erdogan wore dour expressions as they shook hands before a almost 90-minute one-on-one meeting, and during an expanded bilateral meeting with the full delegations Thursday afternoon.

"As of now, the 120-hour period is on".

Thursday's deal was aimed at easing a crisis triggered by President Donald Trump's abrupt decision earlier this month to withdraw all 1,000 United States troops from northern Syria.

On Friday, Turkish-led bombardment killed 14 civilians in another part of the Kurdish-held region, according to the Observatory. During the 13-hour journey from Washington to Ankara, Pence spoke with Trump and other Cabinet officials.

Graham said Thursday that he's hoping the USA delegation can secure a cease-fire.

Trump sent his Turkish counterpart a letter last week, warning that the threatened sanctions could destroy the Turkish economy and advising him, "Don't be a fool".

The next day, Erdogan launched the military assault into Syria.

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