Military Leader of Syrian Kurds Thanks Trump After Permanent Ceasefire Announced

October 23, 2019 Updated: October 24, 2019

The military leader of the Kurds in Syria has thanked U.S. President Donald Trump after a permanent ceasefire between Turkey, Syria, and the Kurds was announced.

“I just spoke with President Trump and explained to him the Turkish violations of the truce that would not have been possible without his great efforts,” Gen. Mazloum Abdi, the top commander of the Syrian Defense Forces (SDF), said in an Oct. 23 statement.

“We THANK President Trump for his tireless efforts that stopped the brutal Turkish attack and jihadist groups on our people.

“President Trump promised to maintain a partnership with SDF and long-term support at various spheres.”

Trump told reporters he’d spoken with Abdi, saying: “General Mazloum has assured me that ISIS is under very, very strict lock and key and the detention facilities are being strongly maintained. There were a few that got out, a small number relatively speaking, and they have been largely recaptured.”

Trump announced at a press conference on Oct. 23 that Turkey’s government informed him that the temporary ceasefire the United States helped negotiate on Oct. 17 was being made permanent.

“It will indeed be permanent. However, you would also define the word ‘permanent’ in that part of the world as somewhat questionable, we all understand that. But I do believe it will be permanent,” Trump said.

He said he would direct the Treasury Department to “lift all sanctions” against Turkish officials that were imposed earlier this month. The sanctions wouldn’t be lifted if Turkey “does something we’re not happy with,” he added.

After Trump announced the United States would withdraw its troops from northern Syria earlier this month, Turkey launched an incursion into the country, battling Kurds and pro-Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s forces.

The temporary ceasefire allowed Syrian and Kurdish forces to withdraw from a safe zone that was to be a buffer area between Syrian and Turkish forces.

The United States still has a good relationship with the Kurds, but never agreed to protect them forever, Trump told reporters in Washington this week.

Follow Zachary on Twitter: @zackstieber
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