Shelling, gunfire continues in northeast Syria after ceasefire deal: Reuters

Picture shows smoke rising from the Syrian town of Ras al-Ain. (File photo: AFP)

Shelling and gunfire resonated in the area of northeast Syria’s Ras al-Ain city on Friday, a Reuters reporter said, a day after Turkey agreed with the United States to pause its offensive in Syria for five days to let Kurdish-led forces withdraw.

The reporter, in the Turkish town of Ceylanpinar across the border from Ras al-Ain, heard the sound of machine-gun fire and shelling in the area of the Syrian city.

“There are sporadic artillery strikes and you can hear shooting in the town of Ras al-Ain,” said Rami Abdul Rahman, head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan denied the allegations of ongoing clashes later in the day.

Ras al-Ain has been a major goal of the Turkish offensive since its launch on October 9 but the town’s Kurdish defenders have put up fierce resistance.

US Vice President Mike Pence said on Thursday he had reached a deal with Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan for a ceasefire in northern Syria to end an eight-day-old Turkish offensive against Kurdish-led forces.

Speaking after crisis talks with Erdogan in Ankara, Pence said that under the deal all military operations would be paused to allow a pullback of Kurdish YPG militia over a 120-hour period. The Turkish military operation would end once that withdrawal was complete, Pence told a news conference.

“Today the United States and Turkey have agreed to a ceasefire in Syria,” Pence told a news conference after more than four hours of talks at the presidential palace in Ankara.

“The Turkish side will pause Operation Peace Spring in order to allow for the withdrawal of YPG forces from the safe zone for 120 hours,” Pence said. “All military operations under Operation Peace Spring will be paused, and Operation Peace Spring will be halted entirely on completion of the withdrawal.”

Pence said US forces in the region had already begun to facilitate a safe disengagement of YPG units.

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Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:54 - GMT 06:54
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