UNITED STATES, WASHINGTON (VOP TODAY NEWS) — A US delegation has arrived in the southern province of the country to begin work on a joint operations center to coordinate a planned safe area in Syria, Turkish authorities said on Monday.
The two NATO countries agreed in talks last week to set up the center that would run the region in northern Syria, although key details of the region, including its size and command structure for joint patrols, would not be agreed.
Cautious progress has been made on the center despite other tensions that have raised tensions in bilateral relations, including Ankara’s purchase of Russia’s S-400 missile defense system and the prosecution of Turkish employees of the US consulate in Turkey for terrorism.
The Turkish Defense Ministry said on Twitter that the construction of the center has begun and is expected to start its activity in the coming days. “A six-member US delegation has arrived in ليanlıurfa for initial preparations.”
Washington and Ankara have been at loggerheads over plans linked to northeastern Syria, where the United States is allied with the YPG in the fight against the Islamic State, while Turkey views the units as an enemy and a terrorist organization.
The two allies are considering establishing a safe zone near the Turkish border free of fighters and heavy weapons, but Turkey wants the region to extend beyond Syria to more than twice the distance proposed by the United States.
Ankara has indicated it will take military action if Washington does not agree to a solution that protects the border.
Turkey says the YPG is an extension in Syria of the PKK, which has been waging an insurgency against the Turkish state since the 1980s.
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