Politics

Vice President Mike Pence Announces Turkey Has Agreed to a Ceasefire in Syria

President also hails the developments on Thursday as 'incredible'

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Vice President Mike Pence announced on Thursday during a press conference that the United States has convinced the nation of Turkey to agree to a ceasefire in Syria.

Speaking in Ankara, Turkey, after more than five hours of talks with Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan, Pence told reporters the two countries “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.”

Pence also said that Turkey and the United States had committed to “defeat ISIS activities in north Syria.”

That includes an agreement to “coordinate efforts on detention facilities and internally displaced persons in formerly ISIS-controlled areas.”

Turkey, as part of this agreement, will pause all military operations for 120 hours to allow the withdrawal of YPG forces; the latter is made up mostly of ethnic Kurds, according to multiple news outlets.

Pence added on Thursday the ceasefire means the United States would not place further economic sanctions on Turkey — and that it would remove the sanctions that already exist once the ceasefire is implemented.

Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had traveled to Turkey for talks with Erdogan on just this topic.

President Donald Trump praised the agreement in comments to reporters in Fort Worth, Texas, calling it “an incredible agreement.”

“This is an incredible outcome … something they [the previous administration] were trying to get for 10 years … I guess I’m an unconventional person … In the end, they were there,” said Trump. “This is about the nation, not Republicans or Democrat … During the five-day ceasefire … they’ll be moving around the safe zone.”

“And we’ve gotten everything we’ve ever dreamed of,” he added.

Trump also said he “wanted to thank everyone,” including Turkey’s president, and the Kurds.

“If we didn’t go this unconventional, tough-love approach,” added the president, the agreement might not have happened.

“It’s a great day for civilization,” he also said.

The president heads to Dallas tonight to address supporters in a major campaign rally.

Ahead of the news conference, Trump also called the development “great news.”

He said “millions of lives” would be saved from this action.

Here are two of his most recent tweets:

Speaking ahead of the news conferences today on the Fox News program “America’s Newsroom,” Hogan Gidley, White House deputy press secretary, said, “Look, it’s obvious the president wanted a ceasefire. The media for so long has been lying again about another topic, and it was Turkey, saying that we had green-lighted this advance by Turkey and President Erdogan. We clearly did not.”

“The letter was released as well,” he added. “Everyone has now seen what President Trump warned President Erdogan about, and said he would work to cripple their economy if they move forward with this and don’t meet the conditions that were set. And of course, that is where we are today, crippling sanctions on Turkey. We sent a high-level delegation over, led by the vice president of the United States, to have this discussion and try and bring some of this fighting to a close.”

Related: Trump Is Right About the Kurds, Period

Trump, in a letter to Erdogan that he shared with the congressional delegation he met with yesterday, called on Erdogan to “work out a good deal.”

“You don’t want to be responsible for slaughtering thousands of people, and I don’t want to be responsible for destroying the Turkish economy — and I will,” the letter went on.

“History will look upon you favorably if you get this done the right and humane way. It will look upon you forever as the devil if good things don’t happen,” Trump had warned, as Fox News and other publications noted.

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This article has been updated with the latest information.

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