Turkey Syria offensive: Trump lifts Turkey sanctions after deal

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The US is lifting sanctions imposed on Turkey nine days ago over its offensive against Kurdish fighters in northern Syria, President Donald Trump says.

His decision came after Russia agreed with Turkey to deploy troops to extend a ceasefire along the Syrian border.

Turkey’s assault began after Mr Trump’s unexpected move to withdraw US troops from northern Syria earlier this month.

“Let someone else fight over this long bloodstained sand,” the president said in a TV address from the White House.

He was heavily criticised by both Democrats and Republicans for the abrupt military pullout, as the Kurds targeted by Turkey had been key US allies in the fight against the Islamic State group (IS) in the region.

Turkey ordered the military operation against the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) militia – which it considers a terrorist organisation – on 9 October, days after the US withdrawal was announced.

What did President Trump say?

“The sanctions will be lifted unless something happens that we’re not happy with,” Mr Trump announced on Wednesday.

He said Turkey had assured him that it would halt fighting in the region and would make the recently agreed ceasefire permanent.

Turkey wants to create a 30km (20-mile) deep “safe zone” along the Syrian side of the border free of Kurdish fighters. It wants to relocate there some of the two million Syrian refugees it is currently hosting.

The US Treasury later confirmed that the sanctions, imposed on 14 October on the Turkish ministries of defence and energy, as well as three of the country’s senior officials, had been lifted.

Media captionRussian military vehicles were seen in the key border town of Kobane on Wednesday

President Trump said on Wednesday he would keep a “small number” of troops in parts of the country to protect oil installations.

He also urged Turkey to commit to securing IS militants, and make sure the jihadist group did not regain any Syrian territory.

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