CBS News gains rare access to Turkish-controlled Syria

CBS News goes inside Turkish-controlled Syria

Sanlirufa, Turkey — President Trump announced Wednesday he's lifting sanctions against Turkey after officials agreed to a permanent ceasefire against Kurdish forces inside Syria. The Kurds fought alongside U.S. troops in the fight against ISIS and now feel betrayed by the U.S. withdrawal from Syria.

CBS News was granted an exclusive view of what's happening inside Syria and went along with Turkish troops as they crossed the border into an area once controlled by America's Kurdish allies.

Turkish soldiers wanted to show us that they're bringing stability to eastern Syria. They're blowing up explosives that Turkey says Kurdish forces left behind and safeguarding markets. Health clinics are open, being run by Turkish medics.

But the Turkish offensive, unleashed after U.S. troops pulled back this month, cost hundreds of lives. Hundreds of thousands of civilians fled the fighting and Syrian militiamen, backed by Turkey, have been accused of war crimes.

Just three weeks ago, Kurdish-led forces allied with the U.S. were in control of this stretch of territory. Now, the Turkish military is in control. Kurdish-forces who were U.S. partners in the fight against ISIS said they've been betrayed by America.

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Holly Williams went inside Syria with Turkish soldiers. CBS News

For now, the fighting has stopped. Turkey is home to over three million Syrian refugees and has plans to resettle more than 1 million of them in the roughly 20-mile safe zone along the border.

As for the Americans, Mr. Trump confirmed Wednesday that the U.S. does have plans to keep a small number of troops in eastern Syria to protect oil fields there. A U.S. official told CBS News they could number around 200 and their mission would be to deny ISIS oil revenue.