The Jury Talks Back

10/17/2019

Deal Struck: Turkey Agrees to 5-Day Ceasefire, No New U.S. Sanctions

Filed under: Uncategorized — Dana @ 2:15 pm

[guest post by Dana]

After meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Vice-President Mike Pence made the announcement:

After an hours-long meeting, Vice President Mike Pence announced on Thursday afternoon that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has agreed to a ceasefire in northern Syria.

The vice president said Turkey would pause its invasion for 120 hours in order to allow Kurdish allies to withdraw from the safe zone of the border region. Pence said the leaders committed to defeating ISIS and renewed an agreement to “coordinate efforts on detention facilities and internally displaced persons in formerly ISIS-controlled areas.”

The U.S. agreed not to put new sanctions in place and to end the current sanctions if the ceasefire holds.

It appears that the Kurds will comply with the agreement:

The commander of Kurdish-led forces in Syria has told Kurdish TV that they will abide by a cease-fire agreement announced in Ankara by U.S. Vice President Mike Pence…“We will do whatever we can for the success of the cease-fire agreement,” Mazloum said Thursday, describing it as a “tentative agreement.”

President Trump was exultant on Twitter:

It depends on one’s definition of “tough love”:

Meanwhile, Turkish prime minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said at a press conference that, “this is not a cease fire”:

“The US side has accepted the necessity of a safe zone to protect Turkey’s security interests. And we have reached a full agreement for the Turkish army to control this zone,” he told a news conference in Ankara.

“This is not a ceasefire, a ceasefire can only be made only between two legitimate sides,” he said, adding that withdrawing Kurdish fighters will return their heavy weapons and destroy their fortifications.

Winners and losers:

It sounds like Erdogan’s going to get everything he wants here, a territory cleansed of Kurds, and he’ll get it without having to risk the lives of any more Turkish troops. Even better for him, if the Kurds refuse to retreat, Erdogan can then start shooting again and claim that it’s the Kurds who are defying the United States now, not him.

And this:

“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,” Romney said.

[…]

“Adding insult to dishonor, the administration speaks cavalierly, even flippantly, even as our ally has suffered death and casualty,” Romney said. “We once abandoned a red line. Now we abandon an ally.”

“The decision to abandon the Kurds violates one of our most sacred duties. It strikes at American honor. What we have done to the Kurds will stand as a bloodstain in the annals of American history,” Romney continued.

UPDATE: Reports are coming in that Turkey has already violated the ceasefire:

Shelling and artillery fire was reported Friday in the border town of Ras al-Ain, one of the targets of Turkey’s week-old offensive against Kurdish fighters, who have long been backed by the United States.

The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) told CNN that shelling by the Turkish military and the Syrian rebel proxies supporting them has hit a number of civilian areas in Ras al-Ain, including a hospital. The SDF says five fighters were killed in the attack.

“SDF are committed to the ceasefire, but from last night until this morning we are seeing shelling on Ras al-Ain by the Turkish military and its mercenaries on SDF and civilian Kurdish targets, and in particular on the Ras al-Ain hospital in the city this morning,” SDF Press Commander Merivan Qamishlo said.

“The situation inside the Ras al-Ain Hospital is catastrophic. Three ambulance vehicles belonging to the Kurdish Red Crescent were prevented from entering and were shot at. The city is completely surrounded by air and ground from the Turkish military,” he added.

UPDATE BY PATTERICO:

–Dana

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