US President Donald Trump announced that Turkey said it is stopping combat operations and making a ceasefire in northern Syria permanent, prompting the United States to lift recent sanctions it imposed on Turkish imports in response to the campaign.
“The sanctions will be lifted unless something happens that we are not happy with,” Trump said on Wednesday in a special address from the White House, where he also spoke sceptically about the meaning of “permanent” in “that part of the world”.
Earlier this month, Trump halted negotiations on a $100bn trade deal with Turkey, raised steel tariffs back up to 50 percent, and imposed sanctions on three senior Turkish officials and Turkey’s defence and energy ministries.
The president has been under fire for abruptly withdrawing US troops from northern Syria, with many accusing him of abandoning Kurdish forces, who had been one of the US’s main allies in the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, or ISIS).
Following the withdrawal, Turkey launched an offensive against Kurdish forces in the region.
Last week, Turkey agreed to a five-day ceasefire to allow Kurdish forces to withdraw.
The ceasefire ended as Turkey and Russia struck a deal in Sochi. Under the agreement, Russia and Syria will “facilitate the removal” from the border region of the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) fighters.