Deal between US, Turkey spawns more questions than answers (Source Associated Press)
A U.S. delegation led by Vice President Mike Pence met with Turkish leaders, including President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, for more than four hours Thursday and agreed to the five-day cease-fire in the Turkish assault on Kurdish fighters in northern Syria. The arrangement says the Syrian Kurdish fighters will withdraw out of what has been called a safe zone that is about 20-miles deep into Syria and stretches across about 125 kilometers (78 miles) of the central portion of the border between the two countries.
But almost immediately there were disagreements over what to call the deal and what it meant. Pence and Trump routinely referred to it as a cease-fire. Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu rejected that term and called it a “pause” in fighting, because he said cease-fires are only possible between “two legitimate sides.” Cavusoglu also said that the Turks would only halt their operation “after the terrorist elements depart” from northeast Syria. What also remained unclear is what the Turkish-backed militias of Syrian fighters will do and how much control the Turkish military will have or try to exert over them.
In return for the cease-fire, the Turks will get what they have wanted all along: control of the safe zone in Syria and, if the cease-fire holds, a halt to the economic sanctions that Trump announced Monday when he warned that he could obliterate Turkey’s economy.