US team in southern Turkey to work on joint operations center

US joins hands with Turkey to work on a a joint operations center to coordinate a planned safe zone in neighboring Syria. (Photo/Turkish military)
Updated 12 August 2019

US team in southern Turkey to work on joint operations center

  • There has been cautious progress on the center despite other disputes straining bilateral ties

ISTANBUL: A US delegation has arrived in Turkey’s southern province of Sanliurfa to start work on the establishment of a joint operations center to coordinate a planned safe zone in neighboring Syria, Turkish authorities said on Monday.

The two NATO allies agreed in talks last week to establish the center that would manage the zone in northern Syria though no agreement has been announced on key details of the zone, including the size of the area in question and the command structure of joint patrols that would be conducted there.

There has been cautious progress on the center despite other disputes straining bilateral relations, including Turkey’s purchase of the Russian S-400 missile defense system, as well as trials of local US Consulate employees in Turkey on terrorism charges.

Work to establish the center has begun and it is expected to become active in coming days, the Turkish Defense Ministry said on Twitter. 

“Within this context, a six-person US delegation has arrived in Sanliurfa with the purpose of preliminary preparation,” it said.

Washington and Ankara have been at odds over plans for northeastern Syria, where US allies on the ground in the battle against Daesh include the Kurdish YPG militia, which Turkey considers an enemy and a terrorist group.

The allies have been discussing a safe zone near the Turkish frontier that would be kept free of combatants and heavy weapons, but Turkey wants it to extend more than twice as far into Syrian territory as the US has proposed.

Turkey has suggested it will act militarily if the US fails to agree on a solution that will safeguard the border. Turkey says the YPG is an extension in Syria of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which has waged an insurgency against the Turkish state since the 1980s.


Former finance minister Mohammad Safadi put forward to be next Lebanese PM

Updated 58 min 37 sec ago

Former finance minister Mohammad Safadi put forward to be next Lebanese PM

BEIRUT: Several major Lebanese parties have agreed on nominating Mohammad Safadi, a former finance minister, as the prime minister of a new government, the Lebanese broadcasters LBCI and MTV reported on Thursday.
The agreement took place in a meeting on Friday between outgoing Prime Minister Saad Al-Hariri, Lebanon’s leading Sunni politician, and senior representatives of the Shiite groups Amal and Hezbollah.
MTV said the government would be a mixture of politicians and technocrats.
They did not identify their sources.