By Michael Hernandez
WASHINGTON (AA) – U.S. Sen. Rand Paul on Thursday lauded President Donald Trump's efforts to broker a halt to Turkey's Operation Peace Spring.
"Thanks @realdonaldtrump for achieving a quick diplomatic breakthrough in the Turkey-Syria conflict," Paul said on Twitter.
Paul is one of a handful of lawmakers who have voiced support for Trump's decision to withdraw U.S. forces from northern Syria. He successfully led an effort earlier in the day to block a House resolution condemning the decision from being considered in the Senate.
Following meetings between Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and U.S. Vice President Mike Pence and their delegations in Ankara, the two sides reached a 13-article agreement on northeast Syria.
Ankara agreed with Washington to pause Operation Peace Spring for five days so that YPG/PKK could leave the region.
According to a joint statement from Turkish foreign ministry, the operation will be paused when the withdrawal of YPG terrorists, the Syrian branch of PKK terror group, is completed.
Among the terms are the re-collection of YPG heavy weapons and the destroying of their fortifications and all other fighting positions.
Turkey and the U.S. "reaffirmed the relationship as fellow members of NATO" and "the U.S. side understands Turkey's security concerns on its southern border," it said.
The two sides agreed that the conditions, particularly in northeast Syria, necessitate closer coordination on the basis of common interests.
With an understanding of "one for all and all for one," they said they also remain committed to protecting NATO territories and NATO populations against all threats.
Turkey and the U.S. also reiterated "their pledge to uphold human life, human rights, and the protection of religious and ethnic communities."
Turkey launched Operation Peace Spring in northern Syria on Oct. 9 in order to secure Turkey’s borders, aid the safe return of Syrian refugees and ensure Syria’s territorial integrity.
Ankara wants to clear the region east of the Euphrates River of the terrorist PKK and its Syrian offshoot, the YPG.
In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK — listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the European Union — has been responsible for deaths of 40,000 people, including women, children and infants.