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

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Ankara has accused Washington of stalling on setting up the safe zone, which would extend hundreds of kilometres along Syria's northeastern border, and has demanded that the United States sever its ties with the YPG.

Given that negotiations had "flatlined", he said Turkey was likely to act unilaterally and pointed to several potential military targets including areas around the northern Syrian town of Manbij and the border towns of Tel Abyad or Kobane.

That put the United States in a hard position as a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally of Turkey but also a supporter of the YPG as its main frontline partner against the so-called Islamic State group.

The two countries had been at odds over command of the zone for months.

"The talks that took place in the Turkish Defense Ministry on August 5-7 with USA military representatives regarding the planned safe zone in the north of Syria in coordination with the United States have been completed".

"God willing, we will take the process we started with the Euphrates Shield to a very different level very soon", he said.

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The US and Turkey have agreed to establish a new "safe zone" in north-eastern Syria, the US embassy in Turkey said in a statement on Wednesday, averting a new diplomatic crisis.

A Turkish security official said that differences between the two sides over the depth of the zone were narrowing but had not been completely bridged. It was unclear whether progress had been made on considerable differences between the two governments on the size and patrolling of a safe zone. He said the United States did not have any "ambition" to abandon the SDF but stopped short of guaranteeing that it would protect them in case of a Turkish attack.

The Turkish Defence Ministry said it would be giving no further details for now of the agreement.

"We witnessed with satisfaction that our partners grew closer to our position".

"When Ankara says it wants to control the 32-km zone, the United States can never agree to that", said Aaron Stein, director of the Middle East program at the USA think-tank Foreign Policy Research Institute.

"The partial (U.S.) drawdown (has) occurred at a time when these fighters need additional training and equipping to build trust with local communities and to develop the human-based intelligence necessary to confront resurgent (Islamic State) cells and insurgent capabilities in Syria", the report said. "S. actions", said the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue.

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