00:40 GMT +323 November 2019
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    A Turkish army howitzer is positioned near the Turkish-Syrian border in Sanliurfa province, Turkey, October 17, 2019

    Live Updates: Sporadic Clashes Continue in Syria After Turkish-US Ceasefire Deal

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    Earlier, the United States and Turkey reached an agreement to implement a 120-hour ceasefire in northeast Syria to allow the withdrawal of the Kurdish People's Protection Units' (YPG) forces.

    Turkey began its operation, which was met with widespread condemnation, including from the United States, the European Union and many Arab countries, in northern Syria on 9 October.

    Damascus has deemed it a violation of Syria's territorial integrity and deployed its troops to the north of the country, while Russia, which supports the Syrian government in its fight against terrorism, has emphasised that any escalation of the Syrian conflict should be avoided.

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    • 21:54

      Pompeo Says Work Needs to be Done on UNSC Resolution on Syria Ceasefire

    • 21:33

      UN Asks All Sides in Syria to Stop Fighting, Focus on Political Track - Spokesman

      "We are asking for the fighting to stop. We are asking for everyone to stop fighting and to focus on a political solution," UN Spokesman Stephane Dujarric said in a press briefing on Friday.

    • 21:30

      Esper Tells Turkish Counterpart US Expects Turkey to Adhere to Syria Ceasefire - Statement

      Washington expects Ankara to fulfil its obligations under a ceasefire agreement for northern Syria, US Defense Secretary Mark Esper said in a statement after a phone conversation with his Turkish counterpart Hulusi Akar on Friday.

      "I just got off the phone with the Turkish Minister of Defense. I reiterated the United States' position that Turkey must adhere to the full terms of this agreement, and that we expect Turkey to ensure the safety and well-being of all people in the area controlled by Turkish forces," Esper said.

      On Thursday, Vice President Mike Pence announced in Ankara that he and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had agreed to a 5-day ceasefire in northeastern Syria to allow the withdrawal of the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) from the border area.

      Esper emphasized that Turkey must maintain the security of prisons in northwest Syria where members of Daesh* are being held.

      The US defence chief also underscored the need to protect religious and ethnic minorities in the territory, calling the ceasefire "a much-needed step in protecting those vulnerable populations."

      Esper said he and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Mark Milley on Thursday had "candid" exchange with US House and Senate lawmakers during classified hearings on Turkey's military operation in Syria.

      "We had a very serious, candid, and constructive discussion about where we've been, where we are, and where we are going when it comes to Syria and Turkey," Esper said.

      *Daesh is a terrorist group banned in Russia.

    • 19:03
      Tourists walk in Lafayette Park, across the street from the White House in Washington, DC

      Trump Says Syria Ceasefire Has 'Good Chance of Success', Retweets Erdogan's Anti-Terrorism Message

      On Thursday, Turkey agreed to suspend its Syria operation for 120 hours to facilitiate the withdrawal of Syrian Kurdish militia forces to a distance of about 30 km from the Turkish border. The agreement came after Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo came to Ankara for talks with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
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    • 18:23

      Turkish Ambassador Says Rome's Critical Stand on Syria Offensive Damaged Bilateral Ties

      The Italian government's overtly critical stance on the Turkish military operation in northeastern Syria has damaged the relations between two countries, Turkey's ambassador to Italy, Murat Salim Esenli, said on Friday.

      "I hope that it could be quickly remedied, otherwise the consequences can be quite negative," the ambassador told journalists.

      He described Italy's position as "extremely unfair."

      "We want the Italian government to understand that Turkey's real intentions, which are very transparent. We have informed our partners in detail," Esenli said.

    • 18:08

      Syria's Assad, Russian Delegation Discuss Constitutional Committee, Turkish Offensive

      Syrian President Bashar Assad and the Russian delegation led by the Russian Special Representative for Syria Alexander Lavrentyev have discussed preparations for the first meeting of the Syrian Constitutional Committee and the situation in northern Syria in connection with the Turkish operation, Assad's press service said in a statement on Friday.

      "During the meeting, the situation in Syria, in particular east of Euphrates, and Turkish aggression were discussed. Assad confirmed that at this stage it is necessary to work to stop this aggression and withdraw all forces — US and others — illegally operating in Syria, as they are occupiers," the statement says.

      Assad and Russian diplomats also discussed preparations for the first meeting of the constitutional committee.

      "The parties expressed satisfaction with the preparations and confirmed that the main factor in the success of the work of the committee is the non-interference of external forces and the respect by all parties for the foundations of this committee. This dialogue is inter-Syrian and conducted exclusively by Syrians," the statement says.

    • 18:08

      Turkey Says Truce in Northern Syria 'Important Step' Toward Victory Over Terrorism - Gov't

      The temporary ceasefire agreed by Washington and Ankara to halt Turkey's military operation in northern Syria is a vital step toward eliminating terrorists along the Turkish border, the primary aim of the offensive, Communications Director Fahrettin Altun said Friday.

      "With this agreement, Turkey has taken an important step toward achieving the primary goals of the operation rapidly, namely clearing our border from terrorists and establishing a safe zone, thanks to the strong leadership of our President and the success of TAF [Turkish Armed Forces] on the ground," Altun wrote on Twitter.

      Turkish Vice President Fuat Oktay also called the ceasefire a victory, saying that "with its strength in the field, strategy on the table and our leader's firm stance, Turkey has won," as quoted by the Anadolu news agency.

    • 17:34

      Erdogan Claims Kurdish Militants Released 750 Daesh Terrorists From Syrian Prisons

      Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Friday that the Syrian Kurds' Self-Defense Forces (YPG) have released 750 Daesh terrorists  from Syria-based prisons, 195 of them have been detained.

      "The YPG has released 750 Daesh terrorists, we caught 195 of them," Erdogan told reporters in Istanbul as quoted by Turkey's NTV television.

    • 16:17

      UK Expects Turkey's Withdrawal From Northern Syria, Permanent Ceasefire - Foreign Office

      The United Kingdom hopes for a permanent ceasefire in northern Syria and the withdrawal of Turkish troops from the area in the wake of the United States and Turkey agreeing that the latter will temporary suspend its military operation, Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs Dominic Raab said Friday.

      "I think we made it clear to our Turkish-NATO partners that the incursion is wrong, we condemned it within the EU. I am pleased to see that there’s been an agreement for a temporary ceasefire, we want to see that be made permanent and for Turkey to withdraw," Raab said in an interview with the Sky News broadcaster.

    • 16:13

      Erdogan Says He Has Not Forgotten Trump's Controversial Letter

      Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said that he has not forgotten the controversial letter that US President Donald Trump sent him shortly before Turkey started its offensive in Syria's north.

      "Of course, we have not forgotten Trump's letter, which has nothing to do with politeness. But our mutual respect does not allow us to keep this matter on the agenda. This is not our priority. However, when time comes, what needs to be done will be done," Erdogan said.

      In his letter, Trump called on the Turkish leader to abstain from launching the offensive that would "let the world down", saying that Erdogan should not be a "fool" and should instead work out a "good deal" with the US.

    • 16:01

      Turkey Should End its Operation in North Syria - EU's Tusk

      The ceasefire in North Syria agreed by the United States and Turkey is insufficient, Ankara should stop its operation there immediately, European Council President Donald Tusk said Friday.

      "The so-called ceasefire, this is not what we expected. In fact, it's not a ceasefire, it's a demand of capitulation of the Kurds. I think we have to be very consistent here ... call for Turkey to put a permanent end to its military action immediately and to withdraw its forces and to respect international humanitarian law," Tusk told reporters.

    • 16:00

      Thirteen Civilians Killed, 70 Wounded in Turkish Air Strike on Northeast Syria - Reports

      Thirteen civilians were killed, and 70 others were wounded in an air strike by the Turkish Air Force on a humanitarian convoy in northeastern Syria, Al Mayadeen television channel reported.

      According to the channel, the humanitarian convoy was heading from the settlement of Tal Tamr to the city of Ras al-Ain.

    • 15:58

      EU Leaders Expect Suspension of Ankara's Syria Operation to Bring Regional Peace - Merkel

      The European Council is hoping that a suspension of Ankara's operation in Northern Syria agreed with the help of the United States can contribute to settling the regional conflict, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Friday.

      "We now have to see whether the ceasefire approved with the help of US administration yesterday will help contribute to settling the conflict, which of course we would wish to see," Merkel told reporters.

    • 15:41

      It Takes Time to Have Ceasefire - White House Spokeswoman

    • 15:40

      Turkey Seeks Agreement With Russia on Kurdish Forces Pullout From Syria's Manbij - Erdogan

      Turkey would like to reach agreement with Russia on withdrawing Kurdish forces from Syria's Manbij, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Friday.

      "Our aim is to reach reasonable agreement with Russia. Our condition is that terrorists from the Kurdistan Workers' Party should be cleared from territories that are currently controlled by the [Syrian] regime. In this case, if Manbij is controlled by the regime, we will have no reason to worry," Erdogan said, adding that he would discuss this with Russian President Vladimir Putin at their meeting on October 22 in Russia's Sochi.

    • 15:25

      Germany Welcomes Ceasefire in Syria, Hopes for Permanent Truce - Spokesman

      Berlin is pleased with the Turkish government's decision to suspend its military operation in northeastern Syria, German Foreign Ministry spokesman Christopher Burger said during a Friday press briefing.

      "Regarding that issue, we can say that everything that leads to the end of the war in the north of Syria, de-escalation of the situation and protection of the civilian population can only be welcomed," Burger said.

      He added that Germany's stance regarding the situation remained the same and that the freeze on military supplies to Ankara would be sustained.

      "We hope that the ceasefire will lead to a permanent truce. For that to happen it is necessary for both sides to discuss the strategic issues," Burger noted.

    • 15:07

      Erdogan Warns Syria Op Will Continue if 120-Hour Ceasefire Deal Breached

      Erdogan said that Turkey will continue its offensive into northeast Syria more rapidly than before if an agreement with the United States to pause the operation and allow the withdrawal of Kurdish forces is not fully implemented.

      He also said that it was not a problem for Turkey if Syrian government forces, backed by Russia, were to enter areas cleared of the Syrian Kurdish YPG.

    • 14:00

      Erdogan Claims There are No Ongoing Clashes in Northeastern Syria

      Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday refuted the reports that the clashes continued in the north Syria despite suspension of the Turkish operation there agreed earlier this week.

      "Dear friends, I don't know from where you get your information, but I received news from the national defence minister, such conflicts are not of issue, this is disinformation, these are speculations. Please do not listen to those speculations," Erdogan told reporters, as quoted by the TRT World channel.

    • 13:59

      Turkey Agreed With US to Carry Out Agreement Together, Will Be in Constant Contact - Erdogan

    • 13:57

      Safe Zone in Syria to Stretch 440 Km Along Border - Erdogan

    • 13:50

      Turkey Resumed Operation in Northern Syria Despite Agreement With US - Reports

      Turkish Armed Forces resumed attacks on Ras al-Ain city in northeast Syria on Friday, despite a temporary ceasefire agreement with the United States, according to the Al Mayadeen TV channel, citing Kurdish sources.

      According to the Syria’s SANA news agency, the Turkish military launched artillery attacks on several villages located in the Ras al-Ain area. Al Arabiya TV channel reports that Syrian opposition groups fighting on the side of Ankara attacked a humanitarian convoy bound for Ras al-Ain.

    • 13:27

      Turkish Military Conduct Mine Clearance in Operation Zone in Syria - Ministry of Defence

      Turkish soldiers who are taking part in the operation in Northeastern Syria are clearing the territory of mines during the five-day ceasefire, the defence ministry said.

    • 13:22

      SDF Accuses Turkish Forces of Targeting Civilian and Military Areas in Ras al-Ain - Reports

      "Despite the agreement to halt the fighting, (Turkish) air and artillery attacks continue to target the positions of fighters (and) civilian settlements," SDF spokesman Mustafa Bali said.

    • 09:36

      Sporatic Clashes Occur in Ras al-Ain, Syria – Sputnik Correspondent

      A Sputnik correspondent, citing sources close to the Free Syrian Army (FSA), reports of ceasefire violations by Kurdish formations of the Syrian Democratic Forces in the Ras al-Ain region, as clashes periodically continue there.

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    Live Updates: Sporadic Clashes Continue in Syria After Turkish-US Ceasefire Deal
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