President Trump announced Wednesday that conditions have been met between Turkey and the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) for a “permanent ceasefire,” and end to a bloody battle which will save many lives.
Trump announced that as part of the agreement, the U.S. will be lifting sanctions of Ankara that were implemented following the invasion of northern Syria.
Speaking at the White House, Trump said that while a “permanent ceasefire” will be tough to maintain in the volatile region, he hopes it will last and end the conflict between Turkey and the Kurds.
“I do believe it will be permanent,” he said. “This was an outcome created by us, the United States, and nobody else…we’ve done something very, very special.”
Trump delivered the statement after the administration had been pressing to halt the fighting since the US troops were withdrawn. Trump pointed out that this agreement was reached without the unnecessary spilling of any American blood.
The ceasefire required Kurdish forces formerly allied with the U.S. against the Islamic State group to move out of a roughly 20-mile zone on the Turkish border. With Kurdish forces out of the zone, Turkey will halt its assault, Trump said.
“We’ve saved the lives of many, many Kurds,” he added.
Trump added that if Turkey breaches the cease-fire, the sanctions could be reimposed.
“The sanctions are lifted unless something happens that we’re not happy with,” he added.
Trump’s statement follows an early morning tweet, where he announced a “safe zone” along the Turkey-Syria border, and voiced optimism after the initial 120-hour pause in the Turkish military operation there ended.
“Ceasefire has held and combat missions have ended. Kurds are safe and have worked very nicely with us,” Trump tweeted. “Captured ISIS prisoners secured.”
General Mazloum, who leads the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), issued a statement thanking Trump shortly after the president announced the U.S. was lifting economic sanctions on Turkey in return for its commitment to a “permanent” cease-fire.
The statement was issued on Twitter by Mustafa Bali, a spokesman speaking on behalf of the General:
“I just spoke with President Trump and explained to him the Turkish violations of the truce that would not have been possible without his great efforts.
We THANK President Trump for his tireless efforts that stopped the brutal Turkish attack and jihadist groups on our people.
President Trump promised to maintain partnership with SDF and long-term support at various spheres.”
President Trump responded to the statement, “Thank you General Mazloum for your kind words and courage. Please extend my warmest regards to the Kurdish people. I look forward to seeing you soon.”
Trump said Wednesday that nearly all U.S. troops will be leaving Syria but some will remain to safeguard oil fields in Syria. Russian forces have already begun joint patrols with Turkish forces along the Turkish-Syrian border.
“After all of the precious blood and treasure America has poured into the deserts of the Middle East, I am committed to pursuing a different course, one that leads to victory for America,” Trump said.
The president added: “Turkey, Syria, and all forms of the Kurds have been fighting for centuries. we have done them a great service and we have done a great job for all of them. And now we’re getting out. … Let someone else fight over this long blood-stained sand.”