Around 30 hours after the peace truce was signed between the US and Turkey to declare the ceasefire in northeastern Syria, the Syrian forces on Saturday accused Turkish troops of not complying with the agreement by refusing to lift a siege it had imposed on the country's borders. The Syrian Democratic Forces called on US Vice President Mike Pence to take responsibility of the situation since it was him who negotiated the deal with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan along with the US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo.
Reportedly the ceasefire had a rocky start with continuation of sporadic violence around the border town of Ras-al-Ain by the Turkish-backed forces on Friday. Moreover, the border town is a test for the deal in which Turkey has asked the Kurdish forces to vacate the frontier zone. In addendum to that, a Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that the Turkey-backed Syrian fighters have also prevented a medical convoy from reaching Ras al-Ayn since Friday.
The United Nations said that more than 2,300 people, mostly women and children, had fled from northeastern Syria and crossed into Iraq in recent days. UN refugee agency spokesman, Andrej Mahecic told the reporters that for four consecutive days, the UN Human Rights Council has been receiving hundreds of refugees who are crossing the border from northeastern Syria to Iraq. More than 1,600 Syrian refugees have already been transported from the middle east border areas to Bardarash refugee camp which is 150 kilometers away from the Syria-Iraq border. The country has been facing many casualties since the Turkish President Erdogan announced offensive in Syria to create a safe zone in border areas. According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights war monitor, the number of refugees who had been forced to leave their homes is far higher than the number suggested by the UN.
Earlier, the United States President Donald Trump had proclaimed that the ceasefire deal with Turkey marked “a great day for civilization,” which was a temporary truce in Turkey's week-old offensive against Kurdish fighters in northeastern Syria. Pence along with Pompeo met with Erdogan on Thursday and announced that Turkey had agreed to cease military operation. President Trump took to Twitter to say that “this deal” was not possible three days ago, and it was some “tough love” that has finally made it happen.
This is a great day for civilization. I am proud of the United States for sticking by me in following a necessary, but somewhat unconventional, path. People have been trying to make this “Deal” for many years. Millions of lives will be saved. Congratulations to ALL!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 17, 2019
Meanwhile, President of Syria Bashar al-Assad, while replying to the Turkish offensive launched in northeastern Syria, said on Thursday that the Syrian forces will counter the operation by 'all legitimate means'. Erdogan launched 'Operation Spring of Peace' along the Syrian border to create a safe zone on October 9. The first time since the military invasion by Turkey, the Syrian President said “will respond and confront it in all forms” while using all the means at their disposal.
(With inputs from agencies)