US Claims Truce in Rebel Fighting with Kurdish-Led SDF; Turkey & Rebels Say No

31 August 2016 – The US and a Kurdish official claimed on Tuesday that fighting had stopped between Turkish-backed rebels and the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces in northern Syria, but Turkey rejected the assertion. White House spokesman Josh Earnest said, “The United States welcomes the overnight calm between the Turkish military and other counter-ISIL [Islamic State] forces in Syria,” while the State Department’s John Kirby said the period of calm had lasted 12 to 18 hours and the US would like it to continue.

A Kurdish military official also said a ceasefire between Turkey and the SDF was holding.However, Turkey said there was no truce and a rebel commander said there was only a “pause” with military operations soon resuming.

In its first significant military intervention in Syria’s 5 1-2 conflict, Turkey carried out aerial operations and sent in tanks and special forces alongside rebels who crossed the border into northern Aleppo Province last Wednesday.

After quickly taking the border town of Jarablus, the force has moved south to the Sajur River. It is closing on the city of Manbij, taken by the SDF from the Islamic State last month. The rebels are also advancing west from Jarablus, taking a series of villages from ISIS on the way to the town of al-Rai.