U.S. officials said Turkish-backed Syrian rebels and Kurdish forces had agreed to a temporary pause in fighting in northern Syria, as Turkey insisted it planned to continue military operations in the region until all threats to its security were removed.
“In the last several hours, we have received assurance that all parties involved are going to stop shooting at each other and focus on the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant [ISIL] threat,” Colonel John Thomas, spokesman for the U.S. Central Command, said on Tuesday.
“It’s a loose agreement for at least the next couple of days and we are hoping that will solidify,” he told AFP news agency.
Thomas said the Turkish and Syrian Democratic Forces, made up largely of Kurdish fighters from the People’s Protection Units (YPG), had opened communications with the U.S. and between each other “with the goal of limiting hostilities.”
… Speaking to Al Jazeera, Tanju Bilgic, the official spokesman for Turkey’s foreign ministry, did not confirm or deny the reported ceasefire.
In a later statement, Bilgic said Turkey’s Euphrates Shield “operation … will continue, with utmost respect to the territorial integrity of Syria, until the calamity of terror is not disturbing Turkish citizens”…
SDF-led Jarabulus council announces ceasefire with Turkey-backed rebels
The SDF-led Jarabulus Military Council on Tuesday announced a temporary ceasefire under auspices of the international coalition, after they withdrew south of al-Sajur River on Monday. “We declare that we have reached a temporary ceasefire [with Turkey-backed groups] under the auspices of the international coalition,” the council said.
The ceasefire was implemented midnight yesterday between the Turkish army and the Jarabulus Military Council. There are attempts by the U.S.-led coalition to turn it into a permanent ceasefire.
However, the council said the truce would not mean they will accept the ‘Turkish occupation’ of Jarabulus.
The statement comes after clear messages from U.S. senior officials that they do not approve the SDF forces and the Turkish-backed rebels fighting each other instead of ISIS. “The United States was very supportive, and is very supportive of their [Turkey’s] general counter-ISIL activities and everything they did to secure the area between the border and Jarablus and then westward, but not south of Jarablus,” U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter told reporters Monday.
The Pentagon further stressed that while they back both the Turks and the SDF forces, they do not support clashes between them.
“While we are closely monitoring reports of clashes south of Jarabulus — where ISIL is no longer located — between the Turkish armed forces, some opposition groups, and units that are affiliated with the SDF, we want to make clear that we find these clashes unacceptable and they are a source of deep concern,” Pentagon spokesperson Peter Cook said, using another acronym for ISIS.
“This is an already crowded battle space. Accordingly, we are calling on all armed actors to stand down immediately and take appropriate measures to de-conflict,” he said.
The Jarabulus Military Council, led by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), announced on Monday the withdrawal from south of al-Sajour river. “After the massacres being committed by Turkish aircrafts against civilians, we announce the withdrawal of our forces to the south of Sajur River to preserve our civilians, so Turkish backed rebels have no justification anymore to continue shelling villages and civilians,” it said.
Reporting by: Wladimir van Wilgenburg and Jan Mohammed
Note by New Cold War.org:
 The al-Sajur River flows from Turkey into Syria and empties into the Euphrates River 20 km south of the center of Jarublus city. Jarablus, Syria is located on the Euphrates River at the border with Turkey.