1. SOUNDBITE (English) Mike Pence, U.S. Vice President
"Today, the United States and Turkey have agreed to a cease fire in Syria.Turkish side will pause Operation Peace Spring in order to allow for the withdrawal of YPG forces from the safe zone for 120 hours. All military operations under Operation Peace Spring will be pause in Operation Peace Spring will be halted entirely on completion of the withdrawal. Our administration has already been in contact with Syrian defense forces and we have already begun to facilitate their safe withdrawal from the nearly 20 mile wide safe zone area south of the Turkish border in Syria"
2. SOUNDBITE (English) Mike Pence, U.S. Vice President
"In addition to the settlement today with the ceasefire, Turkey and the United States mutually committed to the defeat ISIS activities in northeast Syria. This will also include an agreement renewed today to coordinate efforts on detention facilities and internally displaced persons in formerly ISIS controlled areas. Also, Turkey and the United States agreed on the priority of respecting vulnerable human life, human rights and particularly the protection of religious and ethnic communities in the region."
Vice President Mike Pence announced Thursday that Turkey has agreed to a cease-fire to allow the Kurdish forces it was battling to safely withdraw from an area in northern Syria.
Pence spoke after he and other U.S. officials met with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara. He said that President Donald Trump made it clear that had Turkey not agreed, the U.S. would impose more economic sanctions. However, the agreement essentially gives the Turks what they had sought to achieve with their military operation in the first place, removal of the Kurdish forces from the border "safe zone."
Pence said Turkey had agreed to a "pause in military operations for 120 hours" to allow the Kurds to withdraw. He said the U.S. and Turkey had "mutually committed to a peaceful resolution and future for the safe zone."
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. That, according to one U.S. official, is tantamount to allowing Turkey to occupy the safe zone.
In addition, the deal gives Turkey relief from sanctions the administration had imposed and threatened to impose since the invasion began, meaning there will be no penalty for the operation.