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  • Turkish soldiers during operation against terrorist organization PKK/PJAK near the Turkey-Iran border.

    Turkish soldiers during operation against terrorist organization PKK/PJAK near the Turkey-Iran border. | Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Published 24 August 2019

“The joint operation center has started working at full capacity. The command of center is by one U.S. general and one Turkish general."

The safe zone in northern Syria is fully operational now after weeks of negotiations between the U.S. and Turkish defense officials, Turkish Minister of Defense Hulusi Akar was quoted as saying on Saturday by the state-owned Anadolu news agency.

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Akar pointed out that the two sides agreed to force out the 'terrorists' that were occupying several areas in the northern part of the country.

Prior to the implementation of this agreement, Turkey and the United States were involved in a long dispute over the control of the safe zone and presence of the Kurdish-led People's Protection Units (YPG).

“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.

Akar added that the first joint helicopter flight was due to take place on Saturday after Turkish drones carried out surveillance work in the safe zone area last week.

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.

At the same time, Turkey is involved in another dispute in northern Syria; however, this involves heir Russian partners, who are currently backing the Syrian Armed Forces in the Idlib province. 

Russia and Turkey have been at odds over the future of the Idlib province. Russia insists that the province itself is controlled by terrorist grups like Hayat Tahrir Al-Sham. 

In turn, Turkey has accused the Syrian government forces of committing crmes against the people of the Idlib province. This has culminated into a show down between the Syrian and Turkish armed forces in northern Hama, as the former is demanding the latter immediately withdraw rom their observation post. 

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