Middle East

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Turkish soldiers east of Ras al-Ain watch as a tank fires on positions held by fighters from the Syrian Democratic Forces on Monday, October 28.

Nazeer Al-Khatib/AFP via Getty Images

Updated 0141 GMT (0941 HKT) October 30, 2019

Turkish soldiers east of Ras al-Ain watch as a tank fires on positions held by fighters from the Syrian Democratic Forces on Monday, October 28.

Nazeer Al-Khatib/AFP via Getty Images

Turkey launched a military offensive in northeastern Syria on October 9, just days after the Trump administration announced that it was pulling US troops back from the area.

The offensive was aimed at pushing Kurdish forces away from Turkey's border with Syria.

The Syrian Democratic Forces that operate in the area are US allies. They are led by the Kurdish People's Protection Units, which Turkey considers a terrorist organization affiliated with the separatist Kurdistan Workers' Party.

The Kurds have long been considered one of Washington's most reliable partners in Syria and in the broader campaign against the ISIS terrorist group.

The Syrian Democratic Forces suspended their counter-ISIS operations to deal with the Turkish offensive. They also struck a deal with the Syrian government, marking a major shift in their country's eight-year war.

US Vice President Mike Pence announced October 17 that he and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had agreed to a ceasefire halting Turkey's incursion into northern Syria. The Turkish government is insisting Read More – Source