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Shelling, Machine-Gun Firing Reported At Syrian Border Despite Ceasefire

NATALIA SANCHA/AFP via Getty Images

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Reporters said they heard shelling and machine-gun fire at the Turkey-Syria border Friday morning despite a five-day ceasefire agreement between the U.S. and Turkey.

Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo reached the agreement to suspend military operations in northern Syria for five days after allowing U.S.-allied Kurdish fighters leave the region with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan during their visit to Ankara on Thursday.

The fighting heard by NBC News and Reuters journalists from the Syrian border subsided by mid-morning, Reuters reported Friday. It was unclear exactly which group was responsible for the attacks.

“Despite the agreement to halt the fighting, air and artillery attacks continue to target the positions of fighters, civilian settlements and the hospital in Serêkaniyê/Ras al-Ayn. Turkey is violating the ceasefire agreement by continuing to attack the town since last night,” Kurdish-allied Syrian Defense Force spokesman Mustafa Bali tweeted Friday.

Despite Pence’s use of the word “ceasefire” in his agreement made with Turkey, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu called it a “pause in Turkey’s operation” and “not a ceasefire,” according to ABC News.

Pence’s meeting came nearly two weeks after the White House announced that it was pulling about 1,000 U.S. soldiers from northern Syria on Oct. 6. (RELATED: Trump Authorizes Sanctions Against Turkey In Response To Syria Invasion)

“Earlier this week President Trump took decisive action to call on Turkish forces to stand down, to end the violence, to agree to negotiations,” Pence said at a Thursday press conference in Turkey.

“And today I’m proud to report, thanks to the strong leadership of President Donald Trump and the strong relationship between President Erdogan and Turkey and the United States of America, that today the United States and Turkey have agreed to a ceasefire in Syria,” he continued.

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