Syria safe zone agreement with Turkey will come in ‘stages’: Pentagon

An agreement between the US and Turkey to establish a safe zone in northwest Syria will be implemented gradually, with some operations beginning soon, a Pentagon spokesman said. (AFP)

An agreement between the United States and Turkey to establish a safe zone in northwest Syria will be implemented gradually, with some operations beginning soon, a Pentagon spokesman said Wednesday.

“We are currently reviewing options for the Joint Coordination Center with our Turkish military counterparts,” Defense Department spokesman Commander Sean Robertson told AFP.

“The security mechanism will be implemented in stages,” Robertson said.

“The United States is prepared to begin implementing some activities rapidly as we continue discussions with Turkey.”

According to terms of the hard-won agreement between Ankara and Washington reached last week, authorities will use the coordination center, located in Turkey, to organize a safe zone in northern Syria.

The goal of the zone is to create a buffer between the Turkish border and areas controlled by the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG).

Syrian Kurds -- who have played a key role in the fight against ISIS -- have established an autonomous region in northeast Syria amid the country’s brutal civil war.

But as the fight against ISIS winds down in the region, the prospect of a US military withdrawal stoked Kurdish fears of a long-threatened Turkish attack.

Turkey has already carried out two cross-border offensives into Syria in 2016 and 2018, the second of which saw it and allied Syrian opposition forces overrun the Kurdish enclave of Afrin in the northwest.

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Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:52 - GMT 06:52
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