Erdoğan is real victor of U.S.-Turkey ceasefire deal - Guardian

The ceasefire deal, designed to secure a permanent cessation of hostilities in northeast Syria ratifies Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's aims for the region, the Guardian said on Friday.

Erdoğan launched Operation Peace Spring on Oct. 9 to clear the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and other groups that Ankara accuses of having links to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) from its border, vowing to resettle a large number of the 3.6 million Syrian refugees currently in Turkey in what he calls a 30-km deep safe zone in Syria.

Following the ceasefire deal on Thursday, Ankara said it would establish a safe zone that stretches 440 kilometres from the Euphrates river to the Iraqi border and 32 kilometres deep into Syria, as well as Kurdish forces would have to hand over their heavy arms and withdraw.

"By explicitly accepting those terms, the US signalled acquiescence to the long-term Turkish aim of creating a buffer zone in north-eastern Syria, by removing much of the Kurdish population and resettling the area with Syrian Arab refugees," the Guardian said.

“It would involve massive ethnic cleansing essentially,” the Guardian quoted Colin Kahl, a former senior White House official in the Obama administration, as saying.

After harsh bipartisan criticism, U.S. President Donald Trump rebuked Turkey for its offensive despite his earlier endorsement for operation three days before it was launched. Three sanctions draft bills introduced to the U.S. Congress would see tough sanctions imposed on Turkey over the Syria offensive, while Trump on Oct. 14 implemented sanctions on Turkish ministers and ministries, halting trade negotiations with Turkey, doubling tariffs on imports of Turkish steel.

And the United States said the imposed sanctions would be dropped when a ceasefire was permanently established, and this was another victory for Erdoğan since Turkey has been dealing with a slumping economy for a while now, according to the newspaper.

"The threat of US administration sanctions was suspended and his occupation of the Turkish-Syrian border zone was given an extra layer of respectability," the Guardian said.