Pence announces a deal with Turkey for cease-fire in Syria

· October 17, 2019  
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VP Pence meets with Turkish President
Shaun Tandon/Pool/AFP | Getty Images

Quote source: https://www.c-span.org/video/?465417-1/vice-president-pence-announces-us-turkey-reach-ceasefire-agreement-syria

Vice President Mike Pence announced an agreement for a temporary ceasefire in Syria after meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

“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 cease-fire in Syria,” Pence said from the U.S. embassy in Ankara, Turkey.

Last week, the White House announced that the U.S. would pull troops out of an area near the northern Syrian border ahead of an anticipated Turkish offensive into the area. President Trump said it was “time for us to get out of these ridiculous Endless Wars, many of them tribal, and bring our soldiers home.” The move has drawn criticism from both Republicans and Democrats alike, particularly because of Turkey’s attacks on Kurdish forces in the area.

Pence explained Thursday that Turkey’s military would pause its military offensive in northern Syria for 120 hours in order to allow Kurdish militia forces to exit the roughly 20-mile-wide “safe zone” near the border. He also added that Turkey’s operation would be “halted entirely upon completion of the withdrawal.” Pence said that the administration has also begun to facilitate the withdrawal of Syrian forces from the area.

“Also Turkey and the United States agree on the priority of respecting vulnerable human life, human rights, and particularly the protection of religious and ethnic communities in the region,” Pence explained.

The news came just moments after a bipartisan group of U.S. senators in Washington, D.C., led by Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., announced new legislation imposing sanctions on Turkey over its actions in Syria. During his remarks from Ankara, Pence explained that the agreement stipulates that the United States would impose no new sanctions and would lift the sanctions currently imposed on Turkey once a permanent cease-fire takes effect after the “orderly withdrawal” of Kurdish militia forces from the contested area.

Graham told reporters said that while he’s “encouraged” by news of the cease-fire, he still plans to forge ahead on the sanctions legislation for now, in case Turkey doesn’t follow through on its end of the bargain.

President Trump took to Twitter to praise the cease-fire agreement, saying, “This deal could NEVER have been made 3 days ago. There needed to be some ‘tough’ love in order to get it done. Great for everybody. Proud of all!”

“This is a great day for civilization,” Trump added in a subsequent tweet. “I am proud of the United States for sticking by me in following a necessary, but somewhat unconventional, path. People have been trying to make this ‘Deal’ for many years. Millions of lives will be saved.”


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Author: Nate Madden

Nate Madden is BlazeTV’s congressional correspondent. Follow him @NateOnTheHill or send tips to nmadden@blazemedia.com.