On Thursday, U.S. President Donald Trump gave positive comments toward Turkey President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, calling him a “tough man” in words praising him for a deal that was brokered with him and Vice President Mike Pence.
“I just want to thank and congratulate President Erdoğan. He’s a friend of mine, and I’m glad we didn’t have a problem…he did the right thing and I really appreciate it, and I will appreciate it in the future,” Trump said, per previous reporting from HillReporter.com.
The deal hashed out between Pence and Erdoğan was touted as a “ceasefire” between Turkey and Kurdish forces in northern Syria, although officially Turkish government leaders said it was a “pause in hostilities” rather than a legitimate ceasefire, CBS News reported.
Yet even after the deal was made, it appeared it wasn’t being followed to the letter the following day.
When Mike Pence announced the 5-day #ceasefire on the Syrian border, I said I thought it would last no more than 12 hours.
I was wrong.
More like 15 minutes.
Even if they wanted to, the Kurds can't evacuate due to shelling and airstrikes.https://t.co/alSrNwGmSh
— Holly Figueroa O'Reilly (@AynRandPaulRyan) October 18, 2019
Journalists from Reuters who are embedded in the region say they could still hear gunfire and mortar blasts. Smoke was visible from the battlefields, too, the news agency reported.
“Turkey is violating the ceasefire agreement by continuing to attack…since last night,” a spokesperson from a Kurdish-led militia said.
Reports also detail how violent and inhumane the Turkish incursion into Syria may have been. According to Foreign Policy, Turkish munitions have included the use of white phosphorous, a dangerous chemical that can “maim and kill when it comes in contact with human flesh,” the magazine reported.
Photos of children being covered in chemical burns were produced to Foreign Policy, and authenticated by a U.S. administration official.
So far, neither Trump nor the White House have addressed the continued hostilities, nor the possible use of chemical warfare by Turkish forces.