Fighting has continued in a Syrian town at the centre of the battle between Turkey and Kurdish forces despite a US-brokered ceasefire.

Shelling and smoke could be seen around Ras al-Ayn on Friday morning, a day after Turkey and the US agreed to a five-day break in Turkey’s offensive.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported intermittent clashes in Ras al-Ayn but relative calm elsewhere since the ceasefire.

The agreement requires the Kurdish fighters to vacate a swathe of territory in Syria along the Turkish border, largely solidifying Turkey’s position.

Turkish troops and Turkish-backed Syrian fighters launched their offensive a week ago, two days after President Donald Trump suddenly announced he was withdrawing American troops from the border area.

The ceasefire agreement was reached after hours of negotiations in Turkey’s capital Ankara between President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and US Vice President Mike Pence.

The fighting on Friday came after the commander of Kurdish-led forces in Syria, Mazloum Abdi, told Kurdish TV late on Thursday: “We will do whatever we can for the success of the ceasefire agreement.”

But one Kurdish official, Razan Hiddo, declared that the Kurdish people would refuse to live under Turkish occupation.

Turkey US Syria
Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan held talks with Mike Pence (Presidential Press Service/AP)

Kurdish fighters have already been driven out of much — but not all — of a swathe of territory that stretches about 60 miles along the middle of the Syrian-Turkish border, between Ras al-Ayn and Tal Abyad.

But Kurdish forces are still entrenched in Ras al-Ayn, where they were fiercely battling Turkish-backed Syrian fighters trying to take the town on Thursday. Whether the Kurdish fighters pull out of Ras al-Ayn will be an early test of the accord.

The Kurds were US allies in the fight against the Islamic State but came under assault after Mr Trump ordered US troops to pull out.

Mr Trump framed the US-brokered ceasefire deal with Turkey as “a great day for civilisation” but its effect was largely to mitigate a foreign policy crisis widely seen to be of his own making.

Turkey considers the Kurdish fighters terrorists because of their links to outlawed Kurdish rebels fighting inside Turkey.