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US, Turkey agree to 5-day ceasefire in Syria, Pence says, to allow Kurds to withdraw after US gunfire triggers violence



After their departure, Turkey's military operation will be "stopped altogether," Pence said.

"Great news outside of Turkey," President Trump wrote on Twitter shortly before Pence's announcement. "Millions of lives will be saved!" He added.

Pence's whirlwind in Turkey came just a week after the start of a military operation that accelerated the withdrawal of US troops and destroyed alliances in Syria's volatile civil war. Turkey's Western allies warn Erdogan that fighting could lead to resumption of Islamic State battle group

The Trump administration has been criticized for claiming it is abandoning its own allies: Syrian Kurdish militias partnering with US the military to fight the Islamic State. Turkey views Kurdish fighters as a serious threat because of their ties to fighters in Turkey.

Pence states that Kurdish fighters will execute the deal reached between the US and Turkey. "We have reiterated their assurances that they will go out," he said, referring to Syrian Kurdish fighters.

Pence's mission came a day after the White House announced a public letter Trump sent to Erdogan on October 9th. calls on the Turkish leader to strike a deal with Syrian Kurdish militias targeted by the Ankara military operation.

"You don't want to be responsible for slaughtering people," Trump wrote in conclusion: "Don't be a hard man. Don't be a fool! "The letter was written the day the military operation in Turkey began. Turkish authorities told BTV and other news offices on Thursday that Erdogan had thrown the letter in the recycle bin.

"But the clearest response to the letter, written on October 9, was Operation Peaceful Spring," CNN Turk reported, citing diplomatic sources and using Turkey's code name for its insult.

Erdogan has repeatedly denied calls for a ceasefire and has called on Western allies to offer him talks with "terrorists" as he refers to Syrian Kurdish militias because of their links with the Kurdistan Workers' Party or PKK, which is fighting an uprising in Turkey for decades.

Erdogan said Wednesday that Turkey "will never announce a ceasefire" and promised to continue ahead with plans to implement a buffer zone up to 20 miles deep in Syrian territory. The territory would extend more than 280 miles from the northern city of Manbij to the Syrian border with Iraq.

Trump has been facing criticism, including from his own Republican allies, amid reports of the rapid withdrawal of US troops.

On Wednesday, the US military withdrew from Raqqa, the former de facto capital of the Islamic State, as well as Tabqa and headquarters at Lafarge Cement Factory in Jalabia, Colonel Miles B. Chagins III, US military spokesman, .

In the cement plant, after US troops left, US forces used F-15 aircraft to strike air strikes at headquarters to "destroy ammunition cache and reduce the military usefulness of the facility," Caggins writes .

In addition to the ammunition, the strikes were aimed at a small compound that was bombarded with explosive walls and involved housing and diesel generators, said a U.S. military official, referring to the state of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the operation.

Lamot reports from Washington.


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