(CNSNews.com) – Vice President Mike Pence announced Thursday that the United States and Turkey have agreed to a ceasefire in Syria, and Turkey will allow for the withdrawal of YPG forces from the safe zone.
Pence thanked Americans for “carrying this moment in prayer,” adding that “We heard from people all over the country whose hearts were heavy with the loss of life in this conflict over the last week long to see it brought to an end.”
The vice president credited their prayers, Trump’s “strong leadership” and the cooperation between Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Turkey to make the ceasefire possible.
“One week ago, the Turkish forces crossed into Syria. Earlier this week, President Trump took decisive action to call on Turkish forces to stand down, the end the violence, to agree to negotiations. And today, I’m proud to report thanks to the strong leadership of President Donald Trump and the strong relationship between President Erdogan and Turkey and the United States of America that today, the United States and Turkey have agreed to a ceasefire in Syria,” he said.
“The 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 paused, and 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,” Pence said.
The vice president said the agreement includes a promise by Turkey not to engage in military action against the community of Kobani. “In addition, the United States and Turkey have both mutually committed to a peaceful resolution and future for the safe zone, working on an international basis to ensure that peace and security defines this border region of Syria.”
“In addition to the settlement today, with the cease-fire, 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 formally ISIS controlled areas,” Pence announced.
He said the two countries also agreed that Turkey will make it a priority to respect “vulnerable human life, human rights, and particularly, the protection of religious and ethnic communities in the region.”
“I spoke to President Trump just a few moments ago, and I know that the president is very grateful for President Erdogan's willingness to step forward and to enact this cease-fire and to give an opportunity for a peaceful solution of this conflict that commenced one week ago. For my part, I am grateful for the president's leadership. I'm grateful for the more than five hours of negotiations with President Erdogan and his team that arrived at a solution that we believe will save lives,” the vice president said.
“Lastly, my want to express my appreciation to appreciation to millions of Americans who I know were carrying this moment in prayer. We heard from people all over the country whose hearts were heavy with the loss of life in this conflict over the last week long to see it brought to an end. I believe their prayers, the strong leadership that the president provided for this moment, and the cooperation with president Erdogan and Turkey has made this possible,” Pence said.
The U.S. will “work with nations around the world to ensure peace and stability is the order of the day in this safe zone on the border between Syria and Turkey,” the vice president said.