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Home / World / The fighting on the Turkish-Syrian border continues despite a US-led ceasefire

The fighting on the Turkish-Syrian border continues despite a US-led ceasefire



CEYLANPINAR, Turkey – Shots, grenades and mortars hit the Syrian border town of Ras al-Ain on Friday, despite the United States signing a ceasefire agreed Thursday night Vice-President Mike Pence in Ankara urges Turkey to to suspend their military operations in northeastern Syria for five days so that the Kurdish forces can withdraw from a designated security zone rifle fire in Ras al-Ain – although it remains unclear who is responsible.

The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) – US allies during the fight against IS – claimed Friday that Turkish forces would not slow down their forces attack.

"Despite the agreement to end the fighting, air and artillery attacks continue to target the positions of militants, civilian settlements and the Serêkaniyê / Ras al-Ayn hospital," said Mustafa Bali, spokesman for the SDF, a tweet.

NBC News has not independently verified which groups were behind the attacks.

Smoke clouds from targets in Ras al-Ayn, Syria, were caused when the attacks resumed on Friday. Lefteris Pitarakis / AP

The London-based Syrian Human Rights Observatory also claimed that the Turkish forces repeated their bombing of Ras al-Ain early Friday to disrupt the brief "cautious calm" immediately afterward However, cross-border artillery and air strikes before the agreement seemed to have come to a standstill on Friday, as there was no fire from the Turkish side of the border.

The Turkish invasion launched last week was just like President Donald Trump's withdrawal of US troops from the region, which was widely criticized as a betrayal of the US-allied Kurdish forces fighting the Islamic state.

Children gesticulate the ca mera in the province of Akcakale Sanliurfa in southeastern Turkey on the border with Syria on Friday. Lefteris Pitarakis / AP

Turkey has also committed itself to a permanent ceasefire once the Kurds are released from the security zone, but there is no obligation in the security zone to withdraw their troops. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan praised Pence and Trump in a tweet in response to the agreement that their joint efforts would contribute to the "fight against terrorism".

"I am confident that these joint efforts will promote peace and stability in our region," said Erdogan.

However, the Kurdish forces were not involved in the agreement, and it was not immediately clear if they would abide by it.

An SDF spokesperson told the Associated Press on Friday that their troops would not withdraw, according to the ceasefire, as Ras al-Ain continued to be attacked.

Mac William Bishop reported from Ceylanpinar, Turkey, and Linda Givetash from London.


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