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Turkey and US agree on joint operations center in northern Syria

Turkey and US agree on joint operations center in northern Syria
Turkey and the United States have agreed to establish a joint operations center in Turkey to implement a long-planned ‘safe zone’ in northern Syria. The two countries had been at odds over command of the zone for months.

Turkey’s defense ministry announced the breakthrough on Wednesday, after three days of talks. The ministry said the “Joint Action Center” would be set up “as soon as possible,” and would work on establishing a “corridor of peace” to allow refugees to return to Syria.

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The establishment of a buffer zone was first floated in January, a month after US President Donald Trump announced the impending US withdrawal from northern Syria. The safe zone plan was seen by Washington as a means of preventing Ankara from cracking down across the Syrian border on Kurdish militias, against whom it has been waging a low-intensity war for four decades.

Turkey has demanded that any safe zone be free from Kurdish forces, who it considers terrorists. Last month, Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu threatened military action against the Kurds if a safe zone were not established.

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