October 19, 2019 / 1:01 PM / a month ago

Turkish troops ready to continue Syria offensive if truce deal not implemented - minister

ANKARA, Oct 19 (Reuters) - Turkish troops in northern Syria are ready to continue their offensive if a deal with Washington to pause the conflict while Kurdish fighters withdraw is not fully implemented, Defence Minister Hulusi Akar said on Saturday.

Turkey and Washington agreed on Thursday for Ankara to halt its offensive for 120 hours while the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia withdraws from a “safe zone” in northeastern Syria. On Saturday, the fragile ceasefire was holding along the Syrian border.

“We paused the operation for five days. In this time, the terrorists will withdraw from the safe zone, their weapons will be collected and position destroyed. If this doesn’t happen, we will continue the operation,” Akar said.

“Our preparations are ready. With the necessary order, our soldiers are ready to go anywhere,” he told an event in Kayseri. (Reporting by Tuvan Gumrukcu; Editing by Mark Potter)

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