Turkey Syria offensive: Trump orders Turkey sanctions to be lifted


US President Donald Trump delivers a statement in the Diplomatic Room of the White House in Washington on 23 October 2019.

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Reuters

The US is lifting sanctions on Turkey after its recent offensive against Kurdish fighters in north-eastern Syria, President Donald Trump says.

His decision came after Russia agreed with Turkey to use troops to extend a ceasefire along the Syrian border.

Turkey’s offensive began after Mr Trump’s unexpected decision to withdraw US troops from northern Syria earlier this month.

“Let someone else fight over this long bloodstained sand,” the president said.

“The sanctions will be lifted unless something happens that we’re not happy with,” he announced in a statement at the White House on Wednesday.

He said Turkey had assured him that it would cease fighting in the region and would make the recently agreed ceasefire permanent.

The US sanctions were imposed on 14 October in response to Turkey’s offensive.

Turkey sees Kurdish fighters as terrorists and wants to create a 30km (20-mile) deep “safe zone” along the Syrian side of the border.

Mr Trump came under heavy criticism over the US military pullout, as the Kurds had been key US allies in the fight against the Islamic State group (IS) in the region.

He said on Wednesday he would keep a “small number” of troops in parts of the country to protect oil installations.

He also urged Turkey to commit to securing IS militants, and make sure the jihadist group does not regain any Syrian territory.



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