Turkey, Syrian Kurdish Forces 'Reach Ceasefire Deal'

Turkey, Syrian Kurdish Forces 'Reach Ceasefire Deal'

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – US officials said Turkish-backed Syrian rebels and Kurdish forces had agreed to a temporary pause in fighting in northern Syria, as Turkey insisted it planned to continue military operations in the region until all threats to its security were removed.

"In the last several hours, we have received assurance that all parties involved are going to stop shooting at each other and focus on the Daesh (ISIL ) threat," Colonel John Thomas, spokesman for the US Central Command, said on Tuesday.

"It's a loose agreement for at least the next couple of days and we are hoping that will solidify," he said, Al Jazeera reported.

Thomas said the Turkish and Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), made up largely of Kurdish fighters from the People's Protection Units (YPG), had opened communications with the US and between each other "with the goal of limiting hostilities".

Thomas called the reported agreement between the two groups "encouraging".

The White House also lauded the apparent halt in fighting between anti-Daesh forces in Syria.

"The United States welcomes the overnight calm between the Turkish military and other counter- Daesh forces in Syria," White House spokesman Josh Earnest said on Tuesday.

"It continues to encourage these moves as a way to prevent further hostilities and loss of life between all counter- Daesh forces operating in the area."

YPG representative to the global anti- Daesh coalition, Polat Can, also confirmed that they had reached a truce with Turkish-backed rebels.

"We have reached a temporary ceasefire between the Jarablus Military Council and the occupying Turkish army in the Jarablus area under the supervision of the global coalition," he said on Twitter.

Speaking to Al Jazeera, Tanju Bilgic, the official spokesman for Turkey's foreign ministry, did not confirm or deny the reported ceasefire.

In a later statement, Bilgic said Turkey's Euphrates Shield " operation ... will continue, with utmost respect to the territorial integrity of Syria, until the calamity of terror is not disturbing Turkish citizens".

The foreign ministry statement also said that comments from the US about the target and scope of the week-long Turkish military operation in Syria were "unacceptable", adding that Ankara expected a US pledge that the YPG would remain east of the Euphrates to be fulfilled "as soon as possible".

Turkish forces launched last week a two-pronged operation inside Syria against Daesh and the YPG, shelling more than a dozen targets.

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