NEWS

National News

Kurds say they will abide by ceasefire

Kurds_say_they_will_abide_by_ceasefire.jpg

The commander of Kurdish-led forces in Syria says they will abide by a ceasefire agreement announced in Turkey by US Vice President Mike Pence.

Mazloum Abdi, speaking on Kurdish Ronahi TV, said the extent of the ceasefire stretches about 100 kilometres along the middle of the border - between the towns of Tal Abyad and Ras al-Ayn.

"We hope that this cease fire will be successful, and we will do our best to make it successful," Abdi said on Thursday, describing it as a "tentative agreement."

However, Abdi did not specify that his fighters would withdraw from any territory. Kurdish fighters are still entrenched in Ras al-Ayn, fiercely battling Turkish-backed Syrian fighters trying to take the town.

Turkey demands that all Kurdish fighters pull out of a zone stretching from the Euphrates River to Iraq, more than 400 kilometres.

That covers most of the region where Syria's Kurdish population is concentrated.

The Kurdish-led forces invited the Syrian government's military, backed by Russia, to deploy there to protect them from Turkey. Syrian troops have already rolled into several key points along the border.

The agreement announced by US Vice President Mike Pence, appeared to be a significant embrace of Turkey's position in the week-long conflict. It calls for a five-day ceasefire in the Turks' attacks on Kurdish fighters in northern Syria to allow the Kurds to withdraw from the Turkish border.

Abdi, suggested the Kurdish-led force was involved in working out the ceasefire deal. "It has been three days that we have been working on this," he said. "We were aware of all details. As result we reached this agreement."

The nine-day offensive has left many civilians dead on both sides. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said at least 203 fighters from the Kurdish-led forces and 171 from Turkish-backed Syrian factions have been killed.

More than 130,000 people were driven from their homes..

The Kurdish Red Crescent said its ambulances and field clinics in the town have been targeted by shelling, making it hard for them to reach the wounded and killing at least one medic.

"We need a safe corridor to facilitate the evacuation of the wounded," the Kurdish Red Crescent posted on its Facebook page.

© AP 2019