Fighting in Kurdish-held Syrian town despite cease-fire
Even though Turkey on Thursday agreed to a “pause” in its military campaign in northeastern Syria, fighting between Turkish and Kurdish forces continued in the Syrian border town of Ras al-Ayn on Friday. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan dismissed reports of ongoing fighting, while a senior US official said that his government was waiting for confirmation on the reported military activity.
On Thursday, US Vice President Mike Pence managed to get Erdogan to agree to a cease-fire, although the latter called it a mere “pause.” The arrangement aims to give Kurdish forces the opportunity to withdraw from the region.
The Turkish invasion started over a week ago after US President Donald Trump ordered the withdrawal of US troops from the area. Earlier this week, Russia deployed troops to northeastern Syria in order to prevent a military confrontation between Syria and Turkey. In response to calls for a ceasefire by Washington, Erdogan on Tuesday said that he will “never declare a ceasefire.” Experts have been warning that the US withdrawal is likely to play into the hands of major US adversaries including Assad, Russia, Iran and the Islamic State.