US President Donald Trump said that he had a phone call with his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan, downplaying the significance of the continued shelling and gunfire in northern Syria after a ceasefire agreement.
Trump said in a series of tweets that Erdogan told him “there was minor sniper and mortar fire that was quickly eliminated” and the Turkish president wants the cease-fire to work, Xinhua news agency reported on Friday.
The phone call came hours after reported shelling and gunfire in northern Syria, with the Kurdish leadership in northern Syria accusing the Turkish military and its proxies of violating the terms of the truce.
A total of five people were killed Friday by Turkish airstrikes in Syria’s northeastern province of Hasakah, Syrian state news agency SANA reported.
Erdogan told media on Friday that “conflict is out of the question.”
Following his meeting with Erdogan on Thursday, US Vice President Mike Pence announced that the Turkish military operations will be paused for five days, adding the United States will help facilitate an “orderly withdrawal” of Kurdish-led troops from what Turkey has termed as a “safe zone” on the Syrian-Turkish border.
The cease-fire agreement comes a week after Turkey launched a crushing offensive to eliminate the Kurdish forces from border areas with Turkey and to resettle millions of Syrian refugees in the so-called “safe zone” that will be supervised by Turkey.