Turkey to suspend Syria offensive

(BBC) – Turkey has agreed to a ceasefire in northern Syria to let Kurdish-led forces withdraw, US Vice-President Mike Pence has announced. The development followed talks in Ankara between Mr Pence and Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

All military operations will be paused for five days, and the US will help facilitate an “orderly withdrawal” of Kurdish-led troops from what Turkey has termed a “safe zone” on the border.

Turkey launched its assault last week. Its goal was to push back from its border a Kurdish militia – the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) – that it views as a terrorist organisation.

Turkey had hoped to resettle up to two million Syrian refugees in the area, but critics raised fears that could trigger ethnic cleansing of the local Kurdish population.