President Donald Trump announced Wednesday morning that he will make a statement from the White House at 11 a.m. about Turkey and Syria after Kurdish fighters completed their pullout from an area along the Syrian border as part of the U.S. brokered cease-fire agreement.
"Big success on the Turkey/Syria Border," Trump tweeted. "Safe Zone created! Ceasefire has held and combat missions have ended. Kurds are safe and have worked very nicely with us. Captured ISIS prisoners secured."
Kurdish fighters withdrew from the border zone hours before the cease-fire deal was set to expire Tuesday as Turkish and Russian leaders met to negotiate on the border-region's fate. Turkey had threatened to relaunch its offensive in the area, which had started earlier this month after Trump announced an abrupt U.S. pullout from the area, if the Kurds did not withdraw. Kurdish officials have said that Turkish military operations were continuing outside the withdrawal zone.
The White House was notified of the completed Kurdish withdrawal on Tuesday, a senior Trump administration official said.
The U.S. pullout was met with fierce domestic criticism from both Democrats and Republicans over the idea that the U.S. was abandoning its Kurdish allies to be killed at the hands of the Turks. The blowback led the Trump administration to broker a five-day cease-fire was set to end Tuesday. At the same time, Russia has since assumed the role of power broker, with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan meeting in Sochi, Russia, on Tuesday to negotiate how to move forward in Syria.