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Turkey, Syrian Kurds trade blame over breaching US-brokered ceasefire

DPA
Beirut/Istanbul
Turkish forces and Syrian Kurdish forces fighting in north-eastern Syria have accused each other of violating a temporary ceasefire deal brokered by the US.
“Terrorists” have carried out 14 attacks using heavy weapons in the Syrian border towns of Tal Abyad and Ras al-Ain, the Turkish Defence Ministry said, adding that Ankara “fully abides” by the deal with Washington.
The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) said on Saturday that the Turkish side had not allowed the agreed opening of a safe corridor to evacuate civilians and wounded who are besieged in Ras al-Ain.
The SDF added in a statement that US Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who forged the deal with Turkey, should be responsible for making sure Ankara implements the ceasefire and opens the corridor.
“Despite the continued contact with the American side and promises they made to solve this problem, no progress took place,” the SDF added.
Six people in Ras al-Ain have died of injuries they had sustained earlier due to military violence, a war monitor reported Saturday.
The deaths happened after Turkish-allied rebels had prevented a medical convoy from entering the town to evacuate about 38 injured civilians and fighters there, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights added.
Sporadic shelling by the Turkish-backed fighters continued to hit Ras al-Ain on Saturday, according to the watchdog.

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