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Kurdish forces pledge commitment to cease-fire with Turkey

The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) voiced its commitment to the cease-fire agreement that was reached between Turkey and the United States in northern Syria.
Kurdish forces pledge commitment to cease-fire with Turkey

The general-command of the SDF said in a statement on Thursday night that it approves the cease-fire agreement which will see a halt of military operation across the Syrian-Turkish border, Xinhua news agency reported.

It said the cease-fire went into force at 10 p.m. local time (1900 GMT).

While pledging to respect the cease-fire, the SDF statement urged Turkey to abide by the agreement as well.

On Thursday evening, US Vice President Mike Pence said Turkey has agreed to a cease-fire in Syria, under which the SDF must dismantle their defensive fortifications and pull troops from the border area.

Following his meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Thursday, Pence announced that the Turkish military operations will be paused for five days, adding the United States will help facilitate an "orderly withdrawal" of Kurdish-led troops from what Turkey has termed as a "safe zone" on the Syrian-Turkish border.

The cease-fire agreement comes a week after Turkey launched a crushing offensive to eliminate the Kurdish forces from border areas with Turkey and to resettle millions of Syrian refugees in the so-called "safe zone" that will be supervised by Turkey.

The desired Turkish safe zone is a 32-km deep running for 480 km along the Syrian side of the border.

On October 9, Turkey and Syrian rebel groups started an assault to eliminate Kurdish forces in northern Syria in order to end what Turkey perceives as the threat of "terrorist and separatist" groups on its southern border and to impose a safe zone to host millions of Syrian refugees.

With the gradual withdrawal of the US forces from northern Syria that took place in tandem with the Turkish attack, the Syrian army has moved to counter the Turkish offensive through assuming control of certain areas controlled by the SDF under a Russian-mediated deal between the Syrian government and the Kurdish fighters.

The Syrian army has so far deployed in the key city of Manbij in northeastern Aleppo near Turkey, as well as the town of Tall Tamr in Hasakah Province in northeastern Syria and the vicinity of the Ayn Issa town in the northern countryside of Raqqa Province.

( With inputs from IANS )

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