Syrian official says US-Turkey cease-fire agreement in Syria ‘vague’

Bouthaina Shaaban, Syria's political and media advisor to the presidency, said on Thursday that the cease-fire reached between Turkey and the United States in northern Syria is ‘vague’, reports Xinhua.

Her remarks came during a live interview with the pan-Arab al-Mayadeen TV aired in the evening, during which Shaaban said it is not yet clear about the prospects of the cease-fire agreement.

On Thursday evening, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence said Turkey has agreed to a cease-fire in Syria, under which the Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) must dismantle their defensive fortifications and pull troops from the border area.

Following his meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Thursday, Pence announced that the Turkish military operations will be paused for five days, adding the United States will help facilitate an "orderly withdrawal" of Kurdish-led troops from what Turkey has termed as a "safe zone" on the Syrian-Turkish border. The cease-fire agreement comes a week after Turkey launched a crushing offensive to eliminate the Kurdish forces from border areas with Turkey and to resettle millions of Syrian refugees in the so-called "safe zone" that will be supervised by Turkey.

The desired Turkish safe zone is a 32-km deep running for 480 km along the Syrian side of the border.

In her interview, Shaaban said there is nothing called a "safe zone" as it is an occupation of Syrian territory by Turkey. "Erdogan is an occupier of our land and he is an aggressor against our country," she said.

"We deal with any illegitimate foreign presence on our country as an occupation," the Syrian official added. Asked whether Russia is mediating a new relation between Syria and Turkey which has been a staunch supporter of the Syrian rebels, Shaaban ruled out such a possibility, saying "there is no Russian mediation between the Syrian government and Turkey."