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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!"
‘Take what’s inside and get it outside’ — Air Force psychologist reminds airmen of mental health resources
Kirtland Air Force Base isn't much different from the world beyond its gates when it comes to dealing with mental illnesses, a base clinical psychologist says.
Maj. Benjamin Carter told the Journal the most frequent diagnosis on the base is an anxiety disorder.
"It's not a surprise, but I anticipate about anytime in the population in America, about 20% of the population has some form of diagnosable anxiety disorder, and it's no different in the military," he said.
Leading the way among the anxiety disorders, he said, were post-traumatic stress disorder "or something like panic disorder or generalized anxiety disorder."
The DNA of a niece and nephew, who never met their uncle, has helped identify the remains of the Kansas Marine who died in WWII.
The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency announced that 21-year-old U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Pfc. Raymond Warren was identified using DNA and circumstantial evidence. Warren had been buried in a cemetery in the Gilbert Islands, where he was killed when U.S. forces tried to take secure one of the islands from the Japanese.
The Battle of Tarawa lasted from Nov. 20 to Nov. 23, 1943, and claimed the lives of 1,021 U.S. marines and sailors, more than 3,000 Japanese soldiers and an estimated 1,000 Korean laborers before the U.S. troops seized control, the agency said.
Arizona lawmakers are vowing to fight a plan by the Air Force to start retiring some of the nation's fleet of A-10 Thunderbolt II ground-attack jets — a major operation at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base — as part of a plan to drop some older, legacy weapon systems to help pay for new programs.
U.S. Sen. Martha McSally, R-Ariz., a former A-10 pilot, and U.S. Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick, D-Ariz., both vowed to fight the move to retire 44 of the oldest A-10s starting this year.
During a press briefing last week, Air Force officials unveiled plans to start mothballing several older platforms, including retiring some A-10s even as it refits others with new wings.
MOSCOW/SEOUL (Reuters) - North Korea, whose leader Kim Jong Un was filmed riding through the snow on a white stallion last year, has spent tens of thousands of dollars on 12 purebred horses from Russia, according to Russian customs data.
Accompanied by senior North Korean figures, Kim took two well-publicized rides on the snowy slopes of the sacred Paektu Mountain in October and December.
State media heralded the jaunts as important displays of strength in the face of international pressure and the photos of Kim astride a galloping white steed were seen around the world.
North Korea has a long history of buying pricey horses from Russia and customs data first reported by Seoul-based NK News suggests that North Korea may have bolstered its herd in October.
ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - A high-profile local Taliban figure who announced and justified the 2012 attack on teenage Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai has escaped detention, Pakistan's interior minister confirmed a few days after the militant announced his breakout on social media.
Former Pakistani Taliban spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan, who claimed responsibility on behalf of his group for scores of Taliban attacks, proclaimed his escape on Twitter and then in an audio message sent to Pakistani media earlier this month.
The Pakistani military, which had kept Ehsan in detention for three years, has declined to comment but, asked by reporters about the report, Interior Minister Ijaz Shah, said: "That is correct, that is correct."
Shah, a retired brigadier general, added that "you will hear good news" in response to questions about whether there had been progress in hunting down Ehsan.