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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

Teachers across the U.S. protest laws restricting racism lessons

Thousands of teachers and other educators held protests across the U.S. Saturday against the actions of "at least 15 Republican-led states" that aim to restrict teaching about racism in class, the Washington Post reports.

Driving the news: There were demonstrations in at least 22 cities for the "Day of Action" to raise awareness about moves to limit students' exposure to critical race theory, which links racial discrimination to the nation's foundations and legal system, per Axios' Russell Contreras.

Updated 3 hours ago - Health

Lawsuit challenging Houston Methodist's COVID vaccine mandate dismissed

Houston Methodist Hospital in Houston, Texas. Photo: Brandon Bell/Getty Images

A federal judge on Saturday dismissed a lawsuit brought by 117 Houston Methodist staff over the hospital's policy requiring all employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

Why it matters: This is the first federal court ruling on a coronavirus vaccine mandate. Attorney Jared Woodfill, representing the plaintiffs, told KHOU 11 it's "the first battle in a long fight," as he vowed to file another lawsuit soon.

G7 leaders to announce plan to phase out gasoline cars

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson talks next to President Joe Biden and French President Emmanuel Macron at the G7 summit in Carbis Bay, Cornwall, England, on Saturday. Photo: Leon Neal/Getty Images

G7 leaders are set to outline Sunday a range of measures to tackle climate change, including "ending almost all direct government support" for fossil fuels and phasing out gasoline and diesel cars.

Driving the news: The plan was outlined in a British government announcement Saturday, which states that the leaders will also agree to halting "all unabated coal as soon as possible."