By Michael Hernandez
WASHINGTON (AA) - UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres welcomed the pause in Turkey's Operation Peace Spring, the international body said hours after the announcement Thursday.
"The Secretary-General welcomes any effort to de-escalate the situation and protect civilians, in line with the UN Charter and international humanitarian law," the UN said in a statement. "The Secretary-General recognizes that there is still a long way to go for an effective solution to the crisis in Syria."
Following meetings between Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and U.S. Vice President Mike Pence and their delegations in Ankara, the two sides reached a 13-article agreement on northeast Syria.
Turkey and the U.S. "reaffirmed the relationship as fellow members of NATO", and "the U.S. side understands Turkey's security concerns on its southern border," it said.
The two sides agreed the conditions, particularly in the northeast Syria, necessitate closer coordination on the basis of common interests.
With an understanding of "one for all and all for one," they also remain committed to protecting NATO territories and NATO populations against all threats.
Turkey and the U.S. also reiterated "their pledge to uphold human life, human rights, and the protection of religious and ethnic communities."
Turkey launched Operation Peace Spring in northern Syria on Oct. 9 in order to secure Turkey’s borders, aid the safe return of Syrian refugees, and ensure Syria’s territorial integrity.
Ankara wants to clear the region east of the Euphrates River of the terrorist PKK and its Syrian offshoot, the YPG.
In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK -- listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S., and the European Union -- has been responsible for deaths of 40,000 people, including women, children and infants.