Turkish, US officials agree on Syria safe-zone

  • 18:55 07 August 2019

Turkish, US officials agree on Syria safe-zone

Turkish and U.S. military officials have agreed that the safe-zone in northern Syria will be a "peace corridor" for displaced Syrians longing to return home, the Turkish National Defense Ministry said on Aug. 7, ONA reports citing Hurriyet.

The officials finalized key points of the safe-zone at a meeting in Ankara, the ministry said in a statement.

The 30- to 40-kilometers (18- to 25-miles) wide safe-zone will be controlled by Turkey in coordination with the U.S.

The PKK/YPG terrorists inside the safe-zone will be cleared and forced to surrender heavy weapons in their possession, the ministry added.

Also, all tunnels, positions and fortifications built by the PKK/YPG inside the safe-zone will be destroyed.

"During the talks, the immediate implementation of measures to address Turkey's security concern was discussed in detail," the ministry said.

"In that respect, as the first step in the establishment of a safe-zone, it was planned that a Joint Operations Center in Turkey will be established soon for coordination and control with the U.S.," the ministry added.

Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said on Aug. 7 that talks with the United States aimed at averting a Turkish military intervention into northern Syria had been “positive,” according to state news agency Anadolu.

“We witnessed with satisfaction that our partners grew closer to our position. The meetings were positive and quite constructive,” Akar was quoted as saying as the talks in Ankara entered a third day.

During talks that began on Aug. 5, Turkey raised all of its security concerns and exchanged views with our interlocutors, the defense minister told reporters.

Underlining that the meetings were positive and constructive, Akar said: “We gladly observed that our interlocutors approached our views on the Syria safe zone.”

“Our plans on the Syria safe zone and the deployment of our troops in the field have been completed,” he said. Turkey wants to cooperate with the U.S. if the two governments can find common ground in talks, he added.

“We would prefer to act together with our American ally. If that isn’t possible, we have said multiple times that we will do what is necessary,” Akar said.

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

Turkey has often raised concerns over U.S. support of factions of the PKK against ISIL in the region, saying one terror outfit cannot be used against another.

Faig Mahmudov