President Trump says he spoke Friday with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and insists the leader has agreed to and wants a “ceasefire” in northern Syria, despite multiple reports and footage showing mortar fire continuing in the region.
Trump tweeted that Erdoğan attributed the break in the cease-fire to “minor sniper and mortar fire” between Turkish military forces and Kurdish forces that have long been allied with the U.S. military in the fight against ISIS.
“Just spoke to President @RTErdogan of Turkey. He told me there was minor sniper and mortar fire that was quickly eliminated. He very much wants the ceasefire, or pause, to work. Likewise, the Kurds want it, and the ultimate solution, to happen,” Trump tweeted Friday morning.
Vice President Mike Pence announced in Ankara on Thursday that the U.S. had reached a deal with Turkey to end the bloodshed in northern Syria that came as a result of Trump’s unilateral decision to abruptly withdraw U.S. armed forces from the region.
During an appearance on America’s Newsroom this morning, Fox News anchor Chris Wallace was asked by fellow anchor Sandra Smith why the fighting hasn’t ceased.
Wallace said that it seemed to him that “the bigger question is this a cease-fire, or a surrender that has been negotiated by the U.S.?”
He then explained that “under the terms of this deal, even if the deal holds, all of those Kurds would have to pull back from” an area they have lived for hundreds of years. “Where would they go? How would they live? All of that is unstated. So that’s one of the reasons that you hear that the head of the Kurdish forces who are our allies in the fight against ISIS is talking about a retreat as a tactical maneuver but not a permanent maneuver.”
“Is it going to hold and work?” he asked rhetorically. “For how long will it hold? And what happens to the region when you take an area 280 miles wide, 20 miles deep and say the people living there for generations have to leave? Is the Syrian army going to agree to that? The Assad forces? Their backers in Iran and Russia? What happens to ISIS?”
“There are more questions than answers after this cease-fire has been agreed to,” he added.