President Recep Tayyip Erdogan vowed on Wednesday that Turkey's operation - which has been facilitated by the withdrawal of United States troops from northern Syria - would continue.Kurdish forces struck a desperate deal with Damascus and stepped aside to allow Syrian regime troops and allied Russian soldiers enter the border town of Kobane.
The Utah senator took to the Senate floor Thursday to criticize Trump anew over his withdrawal of USA troops from northern Syria.
The U.S. officials were expected to warn Erdogan that he will face additional economic sanctions if he doesn't halt his assault on Kurdish forces once allied with the U.S.in the fight against the Islamic State group.
Ankara has long argued the Kurdish fighters are nothing more than an extension of the Kurdistan Workers Party, or PKK, which has waged a guerrilla campaign inside Turkey since the 1980s and which Turkey, as well as the U.S. and European Union, designate as a terrorist organization.
He also falsely claimed that the Kurds "are much safer now", despite his recent decision to pull USA forces out of northern Syria, where the US had been fighting alongside the Kurds. "It strikes at American honor", said Romney.
Turkey launched its assault against the Kurdish YPG militia in Syria last week after President Donald Trump pulled a United States contingent out of the way, creating a new front in Syria's eight-year war and prompting 200,000 civilians to take flight.
The truce was announced about 13 hours earlier by US Vice-President Mike Pence after talks in Ankara with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
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He added that, under the fresh deal with the USA, this zone would be controlled by Turkish troops.
He continued: "The ceasefire does not change the fact that America has abandoned an ally".
Senator Mitt Romney, a Republican, said the agreement "is far from a victory" and demanded the administration explain what will happen to the Kurds, what will be the future USA role in the region and why Turkey "will face no apparent consequences".
Pence said that once the pause became permanent, Washington would go ahead with its own plans to withdraw its forces from northern Syria, which had partnered with the Kurds to fight against Islamic State. "It is a matter of commitment", Romney said. "The most important thing we can do right now is send President Trump a message that Congress, the vast majority of Democrats and Republicans, demand to reverse course".
Now, tensions seem to be easing off a bit as Trump thanked Erdogan for his decision in a tweet and said that the path to the Turkish leader's visit to the U.S. next month is now open. "Whether they incorporate that later into a Turkish-controlled safe zone, it was not discussed in any detail", Jeffrey said.
Graham, who was also briefed by White House national security adviser Robert O'Brien on the deal, said he will continue to build support for sanctions legislation he formally unveiled Thursday with Sen.
But the USA withdrawal also leaves U.S. adversaries Russian Federation and Iran in a far stronger position in Syria.