Fighting, shelling in north-east Syria despite so called “ceasefire” deal


Beirut (dpa) – Sporadic fighting and shelling were taking place in north-east Syria on Friday, a monitoring group and Kurdish sources said, a day after Turkey and the United States agreed to a five-day ceasefire in the area.

Shelling and gunfire were being heard across the border town of Ras al-Ain, although other areas which had seen fighting were quiet, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

Kurdish sources told dpa that Turkish shelling was targeting Ras al-Ain and that a hospital in the town where many of the wounded were being treated had been hit.

US Vice President Mike Pence said Thursday that Turkey would pause its offensive for 120 hours to allow Syrian Kurdish fighters to withdraw from a “safe zone.”

The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) said they accepted the ceasefire and that it had gone into effect at 10 pm (1900 GMT) in north-eastern Syria, and hoped that Turkey would abide by it.

SDF military commander Mazloum Abdi said Thursday they “will offer everything needed for the ceasefire to succeed.”

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the offensive, which started October 9, was aimed at Islamic State and the Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG).

Turkey considers the YPG to be linked to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) waging an insurgency within the country. The US had relied on the YPG to help defeat the Islamic State group in Syria and is now being accused of abandoning its ally.

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