Turkey, US agree north Syria 'joint operation centre'

Turkish troops head to the Syrian border in Karkamis Turkey Aug. 27 2016. Turkey on Wednesday sent tanks across the border to help Syrian rebels retake the key Islamic State-held town of Jarablus and to contain the expansion of Syria's Kurds in

United Nations spokesman Stephane Dujarric said Thursday the world body was aware of the discussions between the US and Turkey. Turkey wants to clear the area of Syrian Kurds, whom it considers terrorists connected to a rebellious Kurdish movement in Turkey.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan threatened on Sunday to launch an operation in northern Syria, east of the Euphrates, to remove the Kurdish YPG militia who control the area.

Speaking at a news conference in Ankara on Wednesday alongside his Ukrainian counterpart, Erdogan said that talks with the United States had progressed in a "really positive" direction. He said: "The question of whether a step being taken or not is answered, the step is being taken together".

The joint declaration did not specify the modalities of the planned safe zone.

Neither side said whether they had overcome two main points that had divided them.

"Some are known to have passed through Turkey once leaving Isis as their defeat became apparent, taking the return path on the "jihadist highway" which brought tens of thousands of jihadist fighters and their families into Syria via Turkish soil, in both tacit and active collusion with the Turkish state". 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. News of the deal helped the lira hit its strongest level this week, of 5.469 to the dollar.

Hulusi Akar, Turkey's defence minister, had said earlier that the United States was shifting closer to Ankara's views on the proposed safezone.

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"The Persian Gulf security relates to the countries of the region which have common interests, and not to the U.S. On August 6, Israel confirmed its readiness to join the coalition, added TASS.

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"Our plans, preparations, the deployment of our units in the field are all complete".

Wednesday s deal comes at a delicate moment between Turkey and the USA, who have grown increasingly estranged over a number of issues, including American support for the Kurds and Turkey s decision to buy a Russian S-400 missile defence system.

The announcement came after three days of talks in the Turkish capital of Ankara and after months of stalemate, stemming from disagreements over the zone's size and manager.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Thursday Turkey will not allow the safe zone process it is working on with the Untied States to be delayed, and suffer the same fate as an agreement on the Syrian town of Manbij.

After three days of talks in Ankara and repeated Turkish threats of a military incursion in north-east Syria, Turkish and USA officials agreed that the co-ordination centre would be based in Turkey and would be set up "as soon as possible", according to the Turkish defence ministry.

In particular, the drawdown of US troops has come as the SDF have requested more training and assistance in rooting out ISIS cells and is struggling to maintain ad hoc prisons with some 10,000 ISIS fighters behind bars, 2,000 of whom are not from Iraq or Syria.

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