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.