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Despite ceasefire, Kurdish militia killed soldier in northeast Syria ― Turkey

A Turkey soldier was killed and another was wounded on Sunday after an attack by the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia in northeast Syria’s Tel Abyad, the defence ministry said, despite a deal to pause military operations as militants withdraw from the area.

Despite ceasefire, Kurdish militia killed soldier in northeast Syria ― Turkey

President Tayyip Erdogan agreed on Thursday in talks with United States Vice President Mike Pence a five-day pause in the offensive to allow time for the Kurdish fighters to withdraw from a “safe zone” Turkey aims to form in northeast Syria near its border.

On Saturday, the truce was holding along the border, with just a few Turkish military vehicles crossing, a Reuters reporter at the scene said. But Sunday’s attack has underlined how fragile the agreement is.

Ankara regards the YPG, the main component of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), as a terrorist group because of its links to Kurdish insurgents in southeast Turkey. The YPG has been a close U.S. ally in the fight against Islamic State, according to Reuters report.

In a statement, the defence ministry said an attack by the YPG with anti-tank and light weapons had struck Turkish soldiers carrying out a reconnaissance and surveillance mission in Tel Abyad on Sunday.

“The immediate response based on self-defence was given,” the ministry said. “Despite the Safe Zone Agreement with the United States… 20 harassments/violations were committed by PKK/YPG terrorists,” it said.

On Friday, the Kurdish militia accused Turkey of violating the five-day pause by shelling civilian areas in the northeast and the border town of Ras al Ain.

A senior Turkish official later dismissed the accusations on Saturday, saying these were an attempt to sabotage the agreement between Ankara and Washington, and that Turkey fully supported the deal.

Vanguard News Nigeria.

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