Turkey accuses Syrian Kurd forces of violating truce, SDF denies

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Turkey on Saturday accused Kurdish forces of violating an agreement to suspend its Syria offensive if they withdraw from a “safe zone” along the border, but the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) denied Turkey’s claims.

“The Turkish armed forces fully abide by the agreement” reached on Thursday with the United States, the Turkish defense ministry said in a statement. “Despite this, terrorists... carried out a total of 14 attacks in the last 36 hours,” according to AFP.

But SDF denied on Saturday Turkey’s claims, stressing that its forces agreed on the ceasefire agreement brokered by the United States on Thursday.

The SDF said that shelling by the Turkish troops is continuous and that 24 civilians have been killed since the announcement of the ceasefire on Thursday.

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The SDF accused in a statement Turkey of its continuous shelling “which breaches the ceasefire agreement,” and that “Turkey would not allow the opening of safe passages for injured and civilians who are trapped in Ras al-Ain, though more than 30 hours have passed since the declaration of the ceasefire agreement,” the SDF statement said.

The statement added that US Vice President Mike Pence and US Secretary Mike Pompeo, who brokered the ceasefire agreement with the Turkish side, are responsible to oblige to implement the ceasefire agreement.

The Turkish defense ministry claimed that 12 of the attacks came from Ras al-Ain in northeastern Syria, one from Tal Abyad and another from Tal Tamr region, adding that various light and heavy weaponry including rockets were used.

Turkey had agreed to suspend its Syria offensive for five days but President Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned on Friday he would resume a full-scale operation against Kurdish forces if they do not withdraw from a border “safe zone.”

The defense ministry said “for the agreement to hold soundly and to keep the calm with exception of self-defense”, Turkey was coordinating with the United States.

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