President Donald Trump said the ceasefire agreed upon by the U.S. and Turkey on Thursday is on again after reports of Friday morning shelling and machine-gun fire on the Syria-Turkey border.
The president’s comments came after Reuters reporters said they heard shelling and machine-gun fire at the border Friday morning despite a five-day ceasefire agreement that Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo negotiated with Recep Tayyip Erdoğan during their visit to Ankara on Thursday.
“Just spoke to President [Erdogan] of Turkey. He told me there was minor sniper and mortar fire that was quickly eliminated. He very much wants the ceasefire, or pause, to work. Likewise, the Kurds want it, and the ultimate solution, to happen,” Trump tweeted Friday afternoon.
“Too bad there wasn’t this thinking years ago. Instead, it was always held together with very weak bandaids, [and] in an artificial manner. There is good will on both sides [and] a really good chance for success. The U.S. has secured the Oil, [and] the ISIS Fighters are double secured by Kurds [and] Turkey,” the president continued.
….I have just been notified that some European Nations are now willing, for the first time, to take the ISIS Fighters that came from their nations. This is good news, but should have been done after WE captured them. Anyway, big progress being made!!!!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 18, 2019
Trump also told reporters at the White House on Friday that “there was some sniper fire this morning,” adding, “There was mortar fire this morning. That was eliminated quickly. And they’re back to the full pause,” according to Reuters.
Pence’s meeting to negotiate a ceasefire came nearly two weeks after the White House announced that it was pulling the remaining 50 U.S. soldiers from northern Syria on Oct. 6.
“Earlier this week President Trump took decisive action to call on Turkish forces to stand down, to end the violence, to agree to negotiations,” Pence said at a Thursday press conference in Turkey.
“And today I’m proud to report, thanks to the strong leadership of President Donald Trump and the strong relationship between President Erdogan and Turkey and the United States of America, that today the United States and Turkey have agreed to a ceasefire in Syria,” he continued.
The president implemented economic sanctions on Turkey — including the cancelation of negotiations with Turkey on a $100 billion trade deal and a 50% tariff on steel — on Oct. 14 in an effort to increase pressure on Turkey to commit to a ceasefire.
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