ANKARA (Reuters) – The surprise deal to suspend Turkey’s military offensive against Kurdish-led forces in Syria hinged on President Tayyip Erdogan’s demand that Washington agree a time limit on any ceasefire, a senior Turkish official said on Friday. FILE PHOTO: U.S. Vice President Mike Pence meets with Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan at the Presidential Palace in Ankara, Turkey, October 17, 2019. REUTERS/Huseyin Aldemir/File Photo/File Photo U.S. Vice President Mike Pence announced the five-day pause in Turkey’s cross-border assault after more than four hours of talks on Thursday at Erdogan’s presidential palace in Ankara – a meeting that began inauspiciously with stony faces and few smiles. Despite the sombre start, officials from both sides say a draft accord had already been sketched out ahead of the meeting, but crucial obstacles remained ahead of a deal to halt the latest battle in Syria’s ruinous eight-year civil war. The goal was to stem a fresh humanitarian crisis which has put 200,000 civilians to flight in northeast Syria and ease a security scare over thousands of Islamic State captives guarded by the Kurdish militia targeted in Turkey’s assault. Also in the balance were fractious ties between Turkey and the United States, two NATO allies… Read full this story
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