Turkey, Kurdish forces accuse each other of violating ceasefire


Kurdish and Turkish officials have repeatedly accused each other of violating the truce announced by U.S. Vice President Mike Pence on Thursday to allow Kurdish fighters to withdraw from areas along the border.

RAS AL-AIN: Turkey´s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan fired off a fresh warning Saturday to "crush" Kurdish forces as both sides traded accusations of violating a US-brokered truce deal in northeastern Syria.

The official, Redur Khalil, said Saturday evening that the evacuation could take place Sunday if there were no new problems.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based war monitor, said the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) had yet to start pulling back yesterday.

News reported a senior U.S. official and the top Kurdish commander both said that Turkey is continuing to advance, taking territory in and around the border city of Ras al-Ain.

But earlier this month, US President Donald Trump announced that he would withdraw US troops from northern Syria, in a move seen as green-lighting a Turkish attack.

She claimed that Syria's north would be subject to "certain agreements in the interests of the Syrian government", and added that Damascus highly appreciated the help of its allies, especially Moscow, in countering the terrorist threat.

Many said they were repulsed by Mr Trump's decision to host an global summit at his own resort and incensed by acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney's admission - later withdrawn - that United States aid to Ukraine was withheld for political reasons.

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The deal aims to stem a humanitarian crisis, which displaced 200,000 civilians in the region, and ease a security scare over thousands of Islamic State captives guarded by the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia targeted by the Turkish assault.

"We noticed there was no desire (from the Russians and Syria) to have the Syrian military on the dividing line between us and the Turks except in Kobani", he said. That is far longer than the territory the Kurds will leave under the terms of the deal.

Turkey considers the Syrian Kurdish groups terrorists for their links to a decades-long Kurdish insurgency inside Turkey.

By capturing it, along with the towns of Ain Issa and Tal Abiad, Turkey would cut Kurdish-held territory in half, isolating the western Kurdish pockets from those in the east, said Elias Hanna, a military analyst at the American University of Beirut.

According to the Kurdish Red Crescent, 44 civilians were killed and 171 wounded since the attack began on October 9. "If not, we will continue to crush the heads of the terrorists the minute the 120 hours (of the ceasefire) are over", Erdogan told flag-waving supporters in the central Turkish province of Kayseri.

"We know very well...what we want", Mr. Erdogan said in a speech on Saturday.

Turkey has said it wants to oversee that area.

"We want there to be a role for America in Syria, not only Russian Federation and others monopolising the scene", said Abdi, whose forces turned to the Moscow-backed regime of President Bashar al-Assad for protection when United States troops pulled back. He confirmed he will discuss the potential deployment of Syrian forces with Vladimir Putin but warned his Government would "implement its own plans" if an agreement was not reached.