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Photo: Murat Cetinmuhurdar/Turkish Presidency via Getty Images

Vice President Mike Pence announced from Ankara on Thursday that Turkey has agreed to cease its military operation in northern Syria for 120 hours so that Kurdish forces can withdraw from the area.

The big picture: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan previously said that he would "never" agree to a ceasefire, after the U.S. withdrawal from northern Syria paved the way for Turkey to begin a military assault on U.S-allied Kurdish forces that they view as terrorists.

The breakthrough came after five hours of negotiations between Pence and Erdogan and followed the authorization of sanctions against Turkish officials earlier this week by President Trump.

  • As part of the deal, Pence said that the U.S. would not implement any more sanctions on Turkey and that it would revoke all economic punishments once a permanent ceasefire takes effect.
  • Pence also said Turkey agreed to re-commit to countering ISIS and to cooperate with the U.S. on securing ISIS detainees and guarding prison camps in Syria.
  • After Pence's announcement, Turkey's Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said: "This is not a ceasefire. We will pause the operation for 120 hours in order for the terrorists to leave. We will only stop the operation if our conditions are met."

What to watch: The Kurds must now leave their territory in 120 hours. Asked by a reporter whether there is a future for Syrian Kurds, Pence said that the agreement today ends immediate violence, which is what Trump sent the U.S. delegation to Ankara do.

Between the lines: The agreement gives Turkey what it wants — the removal of sanctions and support for a "safe zone" free of YPG forces that they view as an extension of the Kurdish Workers' Party, which has carried out an insurgency inside Turkey for decades.

  • Significant harm, however, has already been done. Hundreds of Kurds have been killed, thousands have been displaced, and at least 1,000 ISIS prisoners and supporters have escaped prison camps since Trump's decision to move U.S. troops out of northern Syria.

What they're saying: Trump told reporters Thursday, "It's a great day for the United States, it's a great day for Turkey ... it's a great day for the Kurds. It's really a great day for civilization. ... I just want to thank and congratulate President Erdogan. He's a friend of mine and I'm glad we didn't have a problem because frankly he is a hell of a leader and a tough man, a strong man."

Go deeper: House overwhelmingly condemns Trump's Syria decision

Go deeper

5 hours ago - World

Defense Sec. Austin stresses U.S. commitment to Israel's security amid growing Iran tensions

Issei Kato/Reuters/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin arrived for his first visit in Jerusalem amid nuclear talks in Vienna and growing tensions between Israel and Iran.

Why it matters: Austin met his counterpart Benny Gantz and will meet later with Prime Minister Netanyahu to discuss Iran and regional security issues.

"I was horrified": Leaders respond to footage of Black and Latino Army officer threatened at traffic stop

An Army officer is suing two Virginia police officers after he said they drew their guns and pepper-sprayed him during a traffic stop in December.

Why it matters: Footage of the incident has drawn widespread criticism from leaders and groups in the state. Caron Nazario, who is Black and Latino, is heard saying “I’m honestly afraid to get out," to which a police officer responds “Yeah, you should be," in a video from a body-worn camera.

Chauvin trial leaves cities, activists across America on edge

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

The impact of the Derek Chauvin trial is reverberating far beyond the walls of the downtown Minneapolis courtroom.

The state of play: With the trial set to enter its third week, activists across America are watching the proceedings unfold with heavy skepticism that what they perceive as justice will be served.