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US and Turkey agree on temporary cease fire to allow Kurdish fighters to withdraw from northeast Syria
The United States and Turkey have agreed to a temporary cease fire to allow Kurdish fighters to withdraw from a safe zone that Turkey is establishing along its border with Syria, Vice President Mike Pence announced on Thursday.
During the 120-hour cease fire, the United States will help fighters with the YPG, or People's Protection Units, leave the safe zone, Pence said at a press conference in Ankara. For their part, the Turks will take no military action in Kobane.
"Our team is already working with YPG personnel in the safe zone for an orderly withdrawal outside the 20-mile mark," Pence said following negotiating with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his team for more than five hours. "We're going to go forward together to bring peace and security to this region. I'm very confident of that."
Once all YPG fighters have retreated from the safe zone, the cease fire will become permanent President Donald Trump will rescind sanctions imposed on Turkey after it launched its invasion of Kurdish-held northeast Syria, Pence said.
Pence did not say exactly where Kurdish forces will go after withdrawing from Syrian/Turkish border.
"The United States will always be grateful for our partnership with SDF [Syrian Democratic Forces] in defeating ISIS but we recognize the importance and the value of a safe zone to create a buffer between Syria proper and the Kurdish population and the Turkish border, and we're going to be working very closely," Pence said.
Separately, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told reporters on Thursday that the agreement with the United States called for a pause in military operations, not a cease fire.
"Turkey will end the operation in northern Syria only after YPG/PKK terrorists leave [safe zone]," Turkey's Anadolu Agency quoted Cavusoglu as saying. ""We [Turkey and the U.S.] agreed on collecting heavy weapons of YPG, destructing their positions and fortifications."
Both the United States and Turkey also renewed an agreement "to coordinate efforts on detention facilities and internally displaced persons in formerly ISIS controlled areas," Pence said.
About 850 women and children affiliated with ISIS are believed to have fled a camp in Ayn Issa and another five ISIS detainees may have escaped from a prison at Qamishli, said Brandon Wallace, a counterterrorism analyst with the Institute for the Study of War think tank in Washington, D.C.
Prior to the cease fire announcement, Trump tweeted on Thursday that "millions of lives will be saved" as a result of the agreement that Pence and other top U.S. officials had struck with Turkey.
"This deal could NEVER have been made 3 days ago," the president tweeted. "There needed to be some 'tough' love in order to get it done. Great for everybody. Proud of all!"
It didn't take long for a central theme to emerge at the funeral of U.S. Marine Pfc. Joseph Livermore, an event attended by hundreds of area residents Friday at Union Cemetery in Bakersfield.
It's a theme that stems from a widespread local belief that the men and women who have served in the nation's armed forces are held in particularly high esteem here in the southern valley.
"In Bakersfield and Kern County, we celebrate our veterans like no place else on Earth," Bakersfield Chief of Police Lyle Martin told the gathering of mourners.
ROCKFORD — Delta Force sniper Sgt. First Class James P. McMahon's face was so badly battered and cut, "he looked like he was wearing a fright mask" as he stood atop a downed Black Hawk helicopter and pulled free the body of a fellow soldier from the wreckage.
That's the first description of McMahon in the book by journalist Mark Bowden called "Black Hawk Down: A Story of Modern War." It is a detailed account of the horrific Battle of the Black Sea fought in the streets of Mogadishu, Somalia, in October 1993. It claimed the lives of 18 elite American soldiers.
Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher will retire as a chief petty officer now that President Donald Trump has restored his rank.
"Before the prosecution of Special Warfare Operator First Class Edward Gallagher, he had been selected for promotion to Senior Chief, awarded a Bronze Star with a "V" for valor, and assigned to an important position in the Navy as an instructor," a White House statement said.
"Though ultimately acquitted on all of the most serious charges, he was stripped of these honors as he awaited his trial and its outcome. Given his service to our Nation, a promotion back to the rank and pay grade of Chief Petty Officer is justified."
The announcement that Gallagher is once again an E-7 effectively nullifies the Navy's entire effort to prosecute Gallagher for allegedly committing war crimes. It is also the culmination of Trump's support for the SEAL throughout the legal process.
On July 2, military jurors found Gallagher not guilty of premeditated murder and attempted murder for allegedly stabbing a wounded ISIS fighter to death and opening fire at an old man and a young girl on separate occasions during his 2017 deployment to Iraq.