Published: Sat, August 10, 2019
Global Media | By Garry Long

Turkey, US To Set Up "Joint Operation Centre" For North Syria: Ministry

Turkey, US To Set Up

According to the statement, Turkey and the United States will establish a joint operations center in Turkey to manage the creation of a safe zone in northern Syria.

The announcement came after three days of talks in the Turkish capital of Ankara and after months of stalemate, stemming from disagreements over the zone's size and manager.

The defence ministry said in a statement that Ankara had agreed with U.S. officials to "implement without delay the first measures aimed at eliminating Turkey's concerns".

On Wednesday, Turkey and the USA reached a deal to establish a joint operations centre to coordinate and manage the setting up of a safe zone in northern Syria.

Neither statement said whether they had overcome two main points that had divided Washington and Ankara: how far the proposed safe zone should extend into Syria, and who would command forces patrolling the area.

Turkey sees the Syrian Kurdish fighters, who make up the majority of the Syrian Democratic Forces and are allied with the US, as terrorists aligned with a Kurdish insurgency within Turkey. In the past month, officials have also expressed impatience over talks with the U.S. regarding the safe zone.

"Syria's Kurds who have accepted to become a tool in this aggressive US-Turkish project bear a historical responsibility", the source added, urging YPG to return to the fold.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned in recent days that patience was running out with the Americans to find a solution in northern Syria.

The Turkish-American agreement comes as the under-secretary of political affairs for the United Nations said Wednesday that reports suggest more than 100,000 people in Syria have been detained, abducted or gone missing during the eight-year conflict, with the government mainly responsible.

Another Hot and Humid Day With A Few Isolated Storms
While the SPC does have this area in a marginal risk of severe weather, severe weather does seem unlikely given timing. High humidity combined with temperatures in the 90s on Monday afternoon will push the heat index to near 100 degrees.

He added: "With the creation of the operations center, the process will begin". Ankara considers the YPG a terrorist organisation.

However, the latest U.S proposal envisaged sinuous area of control for a depth between 5 and 15 kilometers.

Ankara views the YPG as an offshoot of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which has fought a bloody insurgency inside Turkey for the past 35 years.

Eastern Euphrates and that region are largely controlled by the Kurdish forces with the presence of USA troops and military advisors.

The YPG is the Syrian offshoot of the PKK, a designated terror group in the US and Turkey.

Hulusi Akar, Turkey's defence minister, had said earlier that the USA was shifting closer to Ankara's views on the proposed safezone.

"Our plans on the Syrian safe zone and the deployment of our troops in the field have been completed", he said, but noted that Ankara wants to realize the safe zone with the U.S.

Kamal Akef, spokesman for the Kurdish-led administration's foreign affairs department, said talks were continuing but the Kurdish proposal is for an area 3 to 5 kilometers (2 to 3 miles) deep, overseen by the US -led coalition with possible Turkish participation.

Turkey has twice carried out unilateral offensives into northern Syria against the Daesh group and YPG, in 2016 and 2018 respectively.

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