What Happened: Turkey and the United States have reached an agreement over Ankara's incursion into northern Syria, the Middle East Eye reported Oct. 17. According to the deal, Turkey will halt its offensive within 120 hours to allow the Syrian Democratic Forces to withdraw from a designated safe zone along the Turkish border. Once the operation comes to a halt, the United States will lift the sanctions it recently imposed.
Why It Matters: The agreement could prevent a further degradation of U.S.-Turkish relations and restore cooperation in the anti-Islamic State campaign. An orderly withdrawal by the SDF would also decrease the risk of captured Islamic State fighters escaping from prison camps in large numbers. However, it remains unclear if the U.S. Congress will accept the deal, as it may instead move forward with its own sanctions legislation.
Background: The White House authorized the U.S. Treasury Department earlier this week to impose sanctions against Turkey over its offensive in northeastern Syria, but didn't move forward with imposing the penalties yet. Meanwhile, a bipartisan group of U.S. lawmakers has also introduced a bill to sanction Turkey.
- In Syria, Turkey Will Pay the Price for an Imperfect Buffer (Oct. 14, 2019)
- Turkey: For Ankara, Strategic Gains in Syria Are Worth the Economic Pain of Sanctions (Oct. 10, 2019)
- Turkey's Fragile Economy Faces a Blowback (Oct. 9, 2019)