Turkey, US Agree to Set up Syria Safe Zone Joint Operations Center

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been threatening to launch a large military operation east of the Euphrates since last November

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been threatening to launch a large military operation east of the Euphrates since last November

A joint Turkish-US operation centre that will create and manage a safe zone in northeast Syria will be fully functional next week, Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar said on Friday.

The Pentagon yesterday said the agreement would be "implemented in stages".

On August 7, Turkish and United States military officials agreed to set up a safe zone in the northeast, which will function as a peace corridor for displaced Syrians.

A U.S. military delegation led by deputy commander of the U.S. European Command will visit Turkey's southeastern Sanliurfa province as part of preparations to set up a Joint Operations Center.

The two North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies had reached an agreement on 7 August to set up the joint operations centre in Turkey to administer the safe zone, averting a Turkish offensive on the region as President Recep Tayyip Erdogan threatened unilateral military action on 4 August.

"The joint operation center will start working with full capacity next week", Akar was quoted as saying by Turkey's state-owned Anadolu news agency.

A six-person U.S. delegation arrived in the southern Turkish province of Sanliurfa on Monday to work on the establishment of the operations center.

Turkey and U.S. have been at odds over Washington backing the PYD/YPG-dominated SDF militia in a battle against Daesh in Syria.

A six-member US team also arrived in the southeastern province on August 12.

Little is known about the size of the safe zone and how it will work, but Turkey´s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Thursday that there would be observation posts and joint patrols.

The YPG/PKK is the Syrian offshoot of the PKK terror group, which has been responsible for the deaths of almost 40,000 people in Turkey, including many children, women, and infants, for more than 30 years.

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