Middle East Turkey says Syria safe-zone center with U.S. fully operational

Turkey says Syria safe-zone center with U.S. fully operational

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Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar

A joint Turkish-U.S. operation center to establish and manage a safe zone in northeast Syria is fully operational, Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar was quoted as saying.

Turkey and the United States agreed to set up the joint operations center for the proposed zone along Syria’s northeastern border but gave few details, such as the size of the zone or the command structure of the forces that would operate there.

“The joint operation center has started working at full capacity. The command of center is by one U.S. general and one Turkish general,” Akar was quoted as saying.

On Saturday, a U.S. and a Turkish general flew the first joint reconnaissance mission over northeast Syria, Commander Sean Robertson, a Pentagon spokesman said.

Robertson said the reconnaissance flight and the joint coordination center, established earlier this week, “demonstrates commitment to address Turkey’s legitimate security concerns on their southern border,” and will help ensure “security in northeast Syria so ISIS cannot reemerge.”

Washington and Ankara have been at odds over plans for northeastern Syria, where the Kurdish YPG militia formed the main part of a U.S.-backed force fighting Islamic State. Turkey considers the YPG a terrorist group.

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