President Donald Trump announced on Wednesday that he is lifting U.S. sanctions on Turkey imposed after the country invaded northern Syria earlier this month, calling the country’s temporary cease-fire in the area “permanent.”
“The sanctions will be lifted unless something happens that we are not happy with,” Trump said at the White House.
The president’s comments came hours after after Russian troops advanced toward northern Syria in order to facilitate the withdrawal of Kurdish fighters from the area. The Russian troops will help patrol the border area on the Syrian side of the Turkish-Syrian border, according to Russian state media.
Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan struck a deal on Tuesday to jointly patrol the border zone formerly occupied by the Kurds, following hours of negotiations between the two leaders in the Russian city of Sochi.
The Kurds, the primary fighting force in the U.S.-led fight against the Islamic State, were pushed from northern Syria by Turkish fighters following Trump’s abrupt withdrawal of troops from the zone earlier this month.