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White House Admits To Quid Pro Quo With Ukraine; Donald Trump Speaks To Reporters In Fort Worth, Texas; Turkish Foreign Minister Is Saying That It Is Not A Ceasefire. Aired 2-2:30p ET

Aired October 17, 2019 - 14:00   ET


NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: He hasn't established what he means by quote, "the safe zone."

Now, if you listen to President Erdogan, and that's pretty much the entire area of the Syrian-Turkish border where the Syrian Kurds live. So if he means that and he means a 20-mile depth area within that then that involves major Kurdish population centers being evacuated.

It doesn't seem like he means that because he says there will be no military action against the major population center of Kabani, which is within that particular safe zone.

So there's a lot missing here. He did give a slight clue when he said the U.S. has always agreed on a safe zone. There was a security mechanism put in place by the United States between the towns of Tell Abyad it seems and Ras al Ain, which are currently pretty much taken now by Turkish forces in between them. Although, there's still clashes happening in Ras al Ain.

So what you're really looking at here is an undefined area in which the U.S. says the Syrian Kurds will withdraw from. Well, I have to say, they pretty much I think withdrawn from most of it already, and the Turks have pushed significantly further into Syria than that 20- mile area.

We ourselves saw on Sunday how they're about 30 to 40 miles in, in some areas. So the question you really have to ask yourself is what happens outside of that established safe zone? If, for example, Syrian Kurds all the Syrian regime who aren't party to this agreement, as far as we know, but they're backing the Syrian Kurds, if they end up in clashes, does that mean the ceasefire doesn't come into effect?

Bear in mind the significance of the 120-hour term we are being given here. That is not an accident. That is the period of time between now and the moment in which Turkish President Erdogan and Russian President Putin meet in Sochi. That is where many people felt the ultimate diplomatic deal about this will be made.

So essentially, what you have here is an undefined amount of territory, which Vice President Pence hasn't made clear what it is. We know it's not Kabani, so that possibly limits how far and this sounds like they're not asking the Syrian Kurds to give up major population centers. We're asking -- it seems the United States is saying the Syrian Kurds

were put out of areas where they may already not be back away and outside of that area, it's unclear what may occur. And then we have to wait until that 120-hour period has passed and probably the meeting in Sochi.

Well, we're hearing a lot of backstage diplomacy involving Iran possibly as well and Russia agreeing to various terms to see possibly whether this will become a permanent ceasefire, but do not imagine that this has suddenly changed situation on the ground.

There are senior Turkish officials saying that they're very happy with this as well. The fate of Kabani is always going to be a sticking point because it's very symbolic for the Syrian Kurds who fought for months in the rubble to kick ISIS out of it, but it's fighting for the Turkish plan, too.

So a lot missing from Vice President Pence, it probably happens when you have people who aren't subject matter experts dealing with something like this on such a grand scale. A lot missing from that press conference today. They weren't able in the press conference to hone him down on.

But really, all eyes, I think focused on Tuesday's meeting in Sochi after this rather than necessarily the sudden implementation of a magic solution on the ground.

Bear in mind, too, do not forget, this all happened because of the enabling move on Sunday when Donald Trump told President Erdogan, he will withdraw troops from that safe zone to enable a Turkish advance. That's how we started this. And that's what precipitated the American withdrawal -- Brianna.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: That's right. He said the U.S. did not support the Turkish invasion. But certainly, as you see, Nick, they made it possible and sort of rolled out the carpet there.

Barbara Starr, to you and I think it's also important to mention that part of this, part of the reason why senior Turkish officials are happy with this is because they get any further sanctions stopped, although we'll see -- you know, Congress has something in the works here. So we'll see what's up with that.

But once -- and they expect that they can work out something more permanent they said here in the coming days. Then the sanctions that of course take a long time to even go into effect that have already been in place are going to be cancelled. So that would mean no sanctions from the U.S. for Turkey.

But Barbara Starr, as you look at this, what is aside from where we see Vice President Pence and the Secretary of State, they're announcing this ceasefire or ceasefire that you might use air quotes around to talk about whether it's very substantive. What really is the role of the U.S. here, especially militarily, with forces that have pulled out of this region? BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, look, I think

there's two victors already in this before we even see the details. Certainly the Turks as you just said, Brianna, they've got a victory under their belt right here, because right now, at least for right now, they have the Trump administration, not feeling the same political heat, perhaps they are off their back. And they have sanctions relief before sanctions even go into effect.

Russia, still, no one has heard from Russia. Russia has achieved what it wants here, which is a toehold in the Middle East. U.S. out of Syria, Russia moving in. Russia able to exert its influence with the Assad regime.

This ceasefire. I mean, you have to look at it with cold military eyes. What are we looking at here? First, the YPG, the Syrian Kurds. Twenty four hours ago, the President was saying they are no angels. The U.S. has nothing to do with them.

Now, these very words of trying to help them out, get them out of there safely, making sure violence is reduced, obviously a good thing, but suddenly back with warmer words for the Syrian Kurds 24 hours later. What does that mean?

You have no mechanism in place, as far as we know, right now. We have to see the agreement. How would you even enforce this? Will the U.S. play a role? Certainly not on the ground. U.S. troops are coming out. Will they play a role in the skies? What role will the Assad regime, the Russians, the Iranians, and numerous militias, potentially tied to al Qaeda and ISIS running around in Syria, engaging in violence -- what role will they play?

What is -- you know, in a ceasefire, you have to have an enforcement and monitoring mechanism, and I think most people will tell you in a ceasefire, you need some kind of international participation.

The feelings run so deep amongst all the players on the battlefield, there is going to have to be some kind of neutral party to monitor all of this.

KEILAR: Yes, who will that be? We do not know. Barbara Starr. Nick Paton Walsh, you wanted to say something, please.

PATON WALSH: Sorry, I just -- bear in mind the history of ceasefires in Syria here and this has often been a mechanism we've heard from the Russians, particularly when dealing with the other provinces in Syria, Idlib, a ceasefire is called, it is violated.

It's all about manipulating the political negotiation that essentially you provide a period of time in which people think things are okay and things are calming down, you achieve your military objective on the ground, and then you go back to political negotiation again.

So bear in mind, the term ceasefire may mean something different to Vice President Pence when he talks about it, but for the established players on the ground like the Syrian regime, the Russian government, the Turkish, perhaps too, in all of this, it may mean something slightly less solid. And we still don't have a geographical boundary for where it's supposed to apply.

If things happen outside of that undefined geographical boundary, then it could be all off within a matter of hours -- Brianna.

KEILAR: Nick Paton Walsh, Barbara Starr, thank you so much to both of you. And our special coverage will continue with some extraordinary news out of Turkey and out of the White House today.


ANNOUNCER: This is CNN Breaking News.

BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN HOST: Brianna, thank you so much. Hi, there. I'm Brooke Baldwin. You're watching CNN. We continue the breaking news, but we start the top of the hour here from the White House. And let me say this, this is not normal.

The White House today admitted there was a quid pro quo between millions of dollars in military aid to Ukraine and Trump's pressuring Ukraine to conduct specific investigations.

The President's Acting Chief of Staff, Mike Mulvaney stood in front of the White House press corps earlier today, undercut Trump's claims that there was no quid pro quo. Mulvaney told reporters that aid to Ukraine was in fact tied to President Trump's wish for an investigation into the 2016 election.

So in essence, the White House defense has gone from no quid pro quo to get over it, we do this all the time. Here was Mick Mulvaney moments ago.


QUESTION: It was described as a quid pro quo. It is funding will not flow unless the investigation into the Democratic server happened as well.

MICK MULVANEY, ACTING WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: We do -- we do that all the time with foreign policy. We were holding out money at the same time for what was it? The northern triangle countries. We're holding up aid for the northern tribe of countries so that they so that they -- so that they would change their policies on immigration.

McKinney said yesterday that he was really upset with a political influence in foreign policy. That was one of the reasons he was so upset about this.

And I have news for everybody. Get over it. There's going to be political influence in foreign policy.


BALDWIN: Minor detail, he referred to McKinney, he meant Michael McKinley, a former top State Department aide who testified just yesterday up on Capitol Hill in this whole Impeachment Inquiry.

Let me add to all of that with this - that Mick Mulvaney insists that the delay in military aid to Ukraine had nothing to do with Joe Biden.

Just remember the transcripts - that rough transcript of the President's phone call with his counterpart in Ukraine shows that President Trump directly named the former Vice President while talking to Zelensky, falsely stating that Joe Biden got a Ukrainian prosecutor fired to stop a case against his son.

Quoting the transcript now, "Biden went around bragging that he stopped the prosecution. So if you can look into it, it sounds horrible to me." Again, Mick Mulvaney just a moment ago.


QUESTION: On the call, the President did ask about investigating the Biden's. Are you saying that the money that was held up that that had nothing to do with the Biden's?

MULVANEY: No, yes. The money held up had absolutely nothing to do with Biden.


BALDWIN: Let's start with someone who was in the room. Our Chief White House Correspondent, Jim Acosta and Jim, that briefing was mind blowing.


JIM ACOSTA, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Brooke, I know you're talking to me right now because I can see you on screen, but they have completely dropped my IFB, I can't hear what you're saying.

BALDWIN: Can you hear me right now? Okay. Okay. We'll come back to Jim in just a second. But I'm pretty sure he is going to confirm that it was mind blowing.

Jamie Gangel is with me, our CNN Special Correspondent and John Dean served as White House counsel to President Nixon as he faced impeachment. And so welcome to both of you.

John Dean, you know, you watched that whole thing and when you heard Mick Mulvaney say, we do this all the time, and get over it. Is that a solid defense?

JOHN DEAN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: That's not a very good defense, as Jim Acosta did say earlier, what the game they're playing appears to be is catch us if you can. We're just going to do everything and openly and blatantly.

And we're going to say it is okay even if it is not, and just going to say, try to stop us. So that's a rather unique situation -- Brooke.

BALDWIN: Let's go back to Jim Acosta, who you are absolutely correct in referencing this as a catch me if you can moment. Jim Acosta, we've got you. Tell me why today was mind blowing in that room. ACOSTA: Yes. I mean, you know, Brooke, we've been hearing for weeks

now that there was no quid pro quo. The President on the South Lawn of the White House said repeatedly, there was no quid pro quo.

Just about every Trump defender, who has gotten on television over the last couple of weeks has said, there is no quid pro quo.

What Mick Mulvaney said in that White House briefing room that we hardly ever use anymore, so it was notable for that as well just a few moments ago, is that there was a quid pro quo with Ukraine that -- and he was involved in this that they held up this military aid, hundreds of millions of dollars in military aid to Ukraine, in exchange for an investigation into the D.N.C. and an investigation into the President's conspiracy theories about the 2016 election and the so- called D.N.C. server, which, you know, we don't want to go down that rabbit hole.

But the President and his defenders insist that there's a there, there. There's no there, there. It hasn't been proven. It hasn't been established. It is as credible as the President's theory that Barack Obama wasn't born in the United States. We have no evidence of this.

But yet, this is what was driving this holding up of aid to Ukraine earlier this year. Mick Mulvaney was asked at one point, whether or not this sounds like a quid pro quo and he said, we do this all the time.

Now, the reason why I said it sounds like this is a catch me if you can administration, is because essentially, what Mick Mulvaney is laying out is the same legal argument that was laid out by former President Nixon, in that famous interview that he did after his presidency, that if the President does it, it's not illegal. When the President does it, it is legal.

And John Dean could probably speak to this better than anybody. But time and again throughout this briefing, Mick Mulvaney was saying not only can we hold up foreign aid for domestic political reasons, which is essentially what he is talking about here in reference to the D.N.C., he was also saying it's fine if Rudy Giuliani is conducting a shadow foreign policy, although Mick Mulvaney disputed the notion that it was a shadow foreign policy.

But Rudy Giuliani, a private citizen can be tapped by the President of the United States to conduct foreign policy with respect to Ukraine.

And so just about every turn during this briefing, it was notable in how candid Mulvaney was being about all of this, although he did try to draw the line that well, this didn't have anything to do with Joe Biden.

That's baloney, Brooke, because as you were just pointing out a few moments ago, it's in the call transcript.

BALDWIN: In the transcript. ACOSTA: And so it does appear that this White House is trying to

maneuver legally into a more defensible position which is there was a quid pro quo, but they didn't do anything illegal because the President deemed that this is going to happen, and that this happens all the time in foreign policy with respect to foreign aid decisions.

Brooke, this doesn't happen all the time in foreign policy. That's baloney. You don't hold up foreign aid to investigate, you know, for the purposes of investigating domestic political rivals here in the United States.

There are lots of countries around the world where they do that sort of thing. But the reason why the U.S. is in the position that it is around the world globally, is because we don't engage in those kinds of shenanigans here in the U.S. and when those shenanigans occur, that's why you have oversight, that's why you have Congress.

BALDWIN: Right. There are consequences.

ACOSTA: And checks and balances.

BALDWIN: Exactly, exactly. Jim Acosta, thank you for all of that and I still have you know, John Dean with us, but Jamie Gangel, I want to go to you because you know, John said it. Jim did at this point, I said it off the top of the show that this isn't normal.

It's almost like this White House is trying to normalize really bad behavior and just because they stand up there, whether it's the President on the South Lawn, or you know, the acting Chief of Staff standing in the briefing room saying, yes, it happened, whatever, get over it. So what? It doesn't make it okay.


JAMIE GANGEL, CNN SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT: No, and to your point, every week, we say it's getting worse every day. I mean, this week has been crazy. But I think today is -- it's not just that it's not normal. It is stunning. Even in Trump world, we have reached a whole new level.

Just to put it in some political context. We had a meeting yesterday, where the President did have a meltdown by all accounts.

I just was texting with a Republican source who had watched the Mulvaney press availability, and said, this is a total disaster.

You remember not too long ago, Nancy Pelosi was quoted as saying that the President was self-impeaching.


GANGEL: When you talk to senior Republican leaders, they are really concerned. They see something like this. They see the meeting yesterday. They're watching that Gallup poll, which is going up for people favoring impeachment and removal from office. And politically, this is a disaster for them. BALDWIN: What, John Dean can -- I mean, the White House does keep

talking. The President does keep talking. How can they begin to defend any of this? Their admissions of wrongdoing in broad daylight?

DEAN: They can't. This is not defensible activity. That's why they're taking the position as Jim mentioned, the sort of the Nixonian -- if the President does it, that means it's okay.

Actually, that's the position that Bill Barr takes. That's a position that really started a few years ago, Brooke, with a bunch of conservative academics who developed what they call the Unitary Executive Theory - that in other words that the President is in charge of everything in the Executive Branch and whatever he says and does in that branch is okay.

That does not, however, preclude the ability of the Congress as a separate branch of government to say, no, it is not okay. It is not the way this country was intended to operate. And we're going to call the President on it.

So that's where we are right now and I don't think this strategy of sort of doubling down and playing it open is a very smart strategy.

Eventually, Republicans in the Senate who have the final vote, they're going to say, this isn't the way our country is supposed to operate.

They're going to be hard pressed to campaign on this kind of behavior and certainly try to defend it, because it's not really defensible.

GANGEL: There is self-preservation here for --

BALDWIN: Hang on a second, sorry. President Trump Speaking in Texas.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: ... I want to thank our Vice President Mike Pence, our Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, great job. All of the people that we sent over the last three days, we sent an early group. This is an amazing outcome. This is an outcome regardless of how the press would like to tamp it down, this was something that they've been trying to get for 10 years.

You would have lost millions and millions of lives. They couldn't get it without a little rough love, as I called it. I just put out -- they needed a little bit of that at the beginning.

And then everybody said, wow, this is tougher than we thought. When those guns start shooting, they tend to do things. But I will tell you on behalf of the United States, I want to thank Turkey. I want to thank all of the people that have gotten together and made this happen. This is an incredible outcome.

So you have a 22-mile strip that for many, many years Turkey in all fairness, they've had a legitimate problem with it. They had terrorists. They had a lot of people in there that they couldn't have. They've suffered a lot of loss of lives also. And they had to have it cleaned out. But once you start that it gets to be to a point where a tremendous

amount of bad things can happen. So a process started and we started to negotiate. And I think that obviously, the sanctions and tariffs were going to be very biting.

I'm glad we don't have to do it. We will be taking them off very quickly, as soon as this is finalized. But this is an incredible outcome.

This outcome is something they've been trying to get for 10 years everybody and they couldn't get it -- other administrations. And they never would have been able to get it unless you went somewhat unconventional.

I guess, I'm an unconventional person. I took a lot of heat from a lot of people, even some of the people in my own party, but they were there. In the end they were there. They're all there.

Look, this is about the nation. This isn't about Republicans or Democrats. This is about our nation.


TRUMP: So we have a five-day ceasefire. During that five days, the Kurds and other people, they are going to be taken great care of. They're going to be moving around, moving out of a safe zone, which is something that Turkey has always wanted.

The ISIS, they call them Daesh, but we call them ISIS, the ISIS fighters that we have captured, they'll be under very, very strict control of various different groups. But we will be watching, we will be in charge and they'll be under very, very powerful and strict control.

And we've gotten everything we could have ever dreamed of and we're also going to be able to bring our people back home, but we'll be able to have control of ISIS total. We will be able to do whatever we have to do to get the rest of ISIS wherever they may be. They're never going to be ruling us.

And I want to thank everybody and the other thing I want to thank as a group, I want to thank the Kurds because they were incredibly happy with this solution. This is a solution that really, well, it saved their lives, frankly, it saved their lives.

So we've done a great thing for our partner. If we didn't go this unconventional, tough love approach, you could have never gotten it done. They've been trying to do this for many, many years. You could have never gotten it done.

So I want to thank, everybody. I want to thank everybody back in Washington. We're in Texas now. And we're going to be opening up a phenomenal new plant, one of the greatest men in business and all the businesses here with us, you know who he is and they're opening up a plant in Texas, the first time I believe one of the great companies of the world, first time ever in the United States. And then we're having a big rally in Dallas tonight at the American

Airlines Center. So we look forward to that. We've been -- they've been standing in line for three days, as you know, so it is a record crowd over at Dallas.

But I didn't know it was going to work out this quickly. I didn't know it would work out this well. It's a great day for the United States. It's a great day for Turkey. It's a great day for our partners who have really worked.

I mean, a lot of people questioned some of them. I'm not questioning anybody. They really did. The Kurds were great. It is a great day for the Kurds. It's really a great day for civilization. It's a great day for civilization.

So I just want to thank everybody.


TRUMP: Well, sanctions won't be necessary, because Turkey is doing what they're doing. I didn't need Congress sanctions because I can do sanctions that are tougher than Congress and I was prepared to do that.

I just want to thank and congratulate though, President Erdogan. He is a friend of mine and I'm glad we didn't have a problem because frankly, he's a hell of a leader. And he is a tough man. He is a strong man. And he did the right thing and I really appreciate it and I will appreciate it in the future.


TRUMP: Well, Turkey has a great military power. Turkey is a friend of ours, a neighbor of ours, and they're a member of NATO. And what Turkey is getting now is they're not going to have to kill millions of people, and millions of people aren't going to have to kill them.

I mean, this was going to be a war of lots of other groups coming in. This wasn't going to stop with Turkey against the Kurds. A lot of different groups were coming in. We might not have been involved. I don't want to be involved in that kind of war.

And by the way, we have the strongest military in the world. But we've been there for 10 years. We've been in the Middle East for 19 and a half years. So this was a great thing for everybody and Turkey is -- I really appreciate what they've done. They did the right thing. And I have great respect for the President.

QUESTION: ... if any of the sanctions had been placed? Doesn't that affect the (INAUDIBLE).

TRUMP: No, no. If you let this go, you would have lost millions of lives. Don't forget your friend President Obama lost more than a half a million lives in a very short period in the same region. We've lost very little. But without that gunfire going back and forth, without those rockets

going in both directions, without other countries moving in and potentially moving in and creating virtually a World War, without all of that happening, you would have never been able to make this deal.

We've tried -- we have tried, but everybody has tried to make this deal for 15 years. They could never do it. It was only when it started, people started seeing how nasty it was going to be. It was going to be very nasty. Not only sanctions and tariffs, the war itself would have been very nasty.

So they did things that they wouldn't have done. I just put out. Everybody agreed to things that three days ago they would have never agreed to that includes the Kurds. The Kurds are now much more inclined to do what has to be done. Turkey is much more inclined to do what has to be done. Turkey wouldn't have done this three days ago. The Kurds would not have done it three days ago.


TRUMP: This is a situation where everybody is happy. And I'm happy because there's no fighting. We can bring, certainly most of our people back home for the first time in many years.

QUESTION: Mr. President, you're talking about all this shooting as though it was part of a plan. Are you saying that you planned for these -- people to attack each other?

TRUMP: No, no, but I do think this, David, I think it had to be an unconventional solution, because the conventional solution is to sit down, negotiate. And they've done that for 15 years, actually, more than that, I understand. And that was never going to work.

But all of a sudden, when they saw how nasty it was and how rough it would get. It would get a hundred times worse than what was happening. But when they saw the level of nastiness, they said, let's make a deal. Everybody together. Let's make a deal.

QUESTION: Are you sure that this will last more than five days -- a lot of stuff can disappear in five days.

TRUMP: I think so. I think it's going to last. I think that President Erdogan is very smart. I think he wants it to last. He wants safety for his people. Look, say what you want. A lot of bad things happen to Turkey from that district, from that 22-mile stretch, a lot of people of Turkey were killed. So that's not fair. Nobody likes to mention that.

This was a great thing for the Kurds. This was a great thing for Turkey. This is great for everybody. And frankly, the thing that I'm most happy about is that we were -- I took a lot of heat, but that we were able to do it so fast.

I thought this would go on for longer. This was such a smart thing to get it done so fast.

QUESTION: Is President Erdogan still coming next month to the White House?

TRUMP: Well, now, I would say, that that would be very much open. I would say, that yes, he would come. He did a terrific thing. He's a leader. He's a leader. He had to make a decision. A lot of people wouldn't have made that decision because they don't know. They ultimately would have made it.

But what he did was very smart. And it was great for the people of Turkey and they're lucky it was him that was making the decision. I will tell you that.

QUESTION: (INAUDIBLE) U.S. military, would you leave anybody in the zone to help monitor the situation there?

TRUMP: Yes, we're going to have people that watch it. And most particularly, we're going to have people that are watching ISIS. We will have people watching -- and ISIS will be largely, again controlled by the Kurds. Because what a lot of people don't know, most of the areas where ISIS is, is outside of the war zone or the 22 miles.

So ISIS will be -- very few have gotten out, most of them have been recaptured. And what's happened is, ISIS is outside of the war zone. So that's going to be controlled very much by the Kurds with our supervision.


TRUMP: He is going to be very happy. They've spoken to him. The Kurds a very happy. Turkey is very happy. The United States is very happy. And you know what? Civilization is very happy. It's a great thing for civilization. Thank you, everybody.

QUESTION: Can you talk to President Erdogan about throwing your letter --

BALDWIN: Has he checked with civilization? Okay. All right. Where to begin? First, just starting with the Kurds. The President saying that the Kurds are very happy and that civilization is very happy. He just said, what? Twenty four hours ago that they are no angels and by our latest reporting, 150,000 to 160,000 of them have been displaced because of this decision he made after this phone conversation with President Erdogan of Turkey, number one.

Number two, for him to come out and say and I quote, "This is an amazing outcome." An amazing outcome. It's his total spin. This is not a victory.

We've got to talk all through this. Jamie Gangel is with me. Nick Paton Walsh is with me there on the ground. Nick Paton Walsh, I want to go first to you. I know you've been listening to the President.

I want your reaction to the language that he just used and also to the news that we are now hearing that since we have heard from the Vice President and the Secretary of State hailing this ceasefire, apparently the Turkish Foreign Minister is saying that's not the case. PATON WALSH: Well, they're saying it is not a ceasefire, because you

can't have a ceasefire unless you have two legitimate parties agreeing to it, and they don't believe the Syrian Kurds as a legitimate party because they think they're terrorists.

They said this is a pause in operations. So they're sort of agreeing with the American point of view here. But look, you have to basically take -- I'm sorry to say this -- what President Trump said there, the rhetoric, the self-praise, and the general notion that civilization is happy, whatever that actually is still, put that aside and look at the practicalities of what we are talking about.

There are some glaring holes in this particular plan because they talk about a safe zone. But nobody has really defined what that is.

It may will be between two towns on the Syrian-Turkish border, which are Tell Abyad and Ras al Ain, which seemed to be what Mike Pence was talking about, which are already pretty much apart from bits of Ras al Ain under Turkish forces control.

It may be that essentially they're saying that the Syrian Kurds have to pull away from that, but the Turkish are sounding much more bullish.