US to withdraw sanctions on Turkey following Syria ceasefire deal: Pence

US to withdraw sanctions on Turkey following Syria ceasefire deal: Pence
The US reneged on threats to impose further sanctions on Turkey after Erdogan agreed to suspend its offensive on Kurdish forces in Syria after talks with Mike Pence in Ankara.
2 min read
17 October, 2019
Mike Pence was in Ankara on Thursday for talks on Syria with Erdogan [Getty]

The United States will withdraw recently imposed sanctions on Turkey after it ends its military operation in Syria, Vice President Mike Pence said Thursday after talks in Ankara.

During a five-day ceasefire, the United States "will not be implementing additional sanctions," Pence told reporters.

"Once we have a permanent ceasefire, following the orderly withdrawal of all YPG forces, the United States also agreed to withdraw the sanctions that were imposed on several cabinet officials and several agencies," he said referring to Kurdish forces in Syria.

The operation will be halted for five days to allow the withdrawal, and ended on the condition the Kurdish YPG militia completely withdraw from the area.

The agreement was later confirmed by Turkey’s foreign minister.

"We are suspending the operation, not halting it," Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told journalists in Ankara. "We will halt the operation only after (Kurdish militants) completely withdraw from the region."

Turkey last week began an operation to drive back Syrian Kurdish militants from northern Syria, after the US pulled 1,000 troops out of the area.

The withdrawal was seen as a green light from the White House for the Turkish offensive, creating a massive backlash for Trump.

The American president meanwhile has sent mixed messages, at times threatening Ankara, and at others, suggesting the US had no role in the fight between Turkey and Kurdish militants.

Clashes have continued across the region, with Kurdish fighters in the border town of Ras al-Ain burning tires in a bid to blind Ankara's warplanes and digging in against a ground offensive by Turkish-backed Syrian rebels.

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