Wires

UPDATE 1-U.S. official: Syria situation improved in the past week

(Adds Jeffrey comments.)

WASHINGTON, Oct 22 (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump's special envoy for Syria engagement said on Tuesday prospects for an end to Turkey's offensive against Kurdish fighters in northeastern Syria was better than a week ago, but a permanent ceasefire would depend on both sides meeting terms of last week's temporary ceasefire agreement.

"We're in a better place now than we were a week ago," Special Envoy James Jeffrey told a Senate hearing.

He said Turkey's military had agreed to a more permanent "pause" in the fighting, if Kurdish fighters withdrew from territory as spelled out in last week's agreement. He said sanctions would be eased only if Turkey stopped the offensive.

The Republican-led Senate Foreign Relations Committee called Jeffrey to testify two weeks after Trump abruptly announced that he was removing U.S. troops from Syria, clearing the way for Turkey's offensive against the Kurds.

Trump's action frustrated members of Congress, including several of his fellow Republicans. They consider the withdrawal of troops a betrayal of Kurdish allies who for years have helped the United States fight against Islamic State.

At the hearing, the panel's Republican chairman, Senator Jim Risch, said sanctions must be imposed on Turkey if it continues its offensive.

"If Turkey maintains its aggressive path, it must bear a cost for undermining U.S. security interests," Risch said.

(Reporting by Patricia Zengerle Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Marguerita Choy)