Northern Syria: Turkey and US plan joint security zone deployment center
The government of Donald Trump is apparently ready to set up a buffer zone in northern Syria with Turkey. It is unclear how big the corridor should be.
Turkey and the US are planning a joint coordination center to build a security zone in northern Syria. The center should be set up "in time" in Turkey to "coordinate and manage" the construction of a buffer zone, the Turkish Ministry of Defense said. The US embassy published a corresponding tweet.
Statement on Joint Military Talks Regarding Syria: https://t.co/wN6hUTgYdc pic.twitter.com/7Ce4WUVomI- US Embassy Turkey (@USEmbassyTurkey) August 7, 2019
The US and Turkey had spent three days negotiating the establishment of a buffer zone between the Turkish border and positions of Kurdish militia YPG in northern Syria. US President Donald Trump had proposed the buffer zone to hold Turkey offensive against the US-backed Kurdish militia.
The YPG is one of the US's most important ally in the fight against the IS militia in Syria. Turkey classifies the YPG as a terrorist organization. Some international observers also see the militia as an offshoot of the Kurdistan Workers' Party, the PKK, which is banned in Germany.
How big should the security zone be?
On Tuesday, Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdoğan again threatened a military operation against the YPG in northern Syria. The military operation will start "very soon", Erdoğan said. US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper warned that Turkey's "one-sided invasion" was "unacceptable".
This Wednesday, the Turkish Minister of Defense Hulusi Akar then reported "positive and very constructive talks" with the US. Issues of the two NATO allies included, among other things, how big the buffer zone should be and who will control it. Nothing was known about such agreements. Turkey is aiming for a 30-kilometer-wide zone that runs east from the Euphrates River along the borderline.
Since 2016, Turkey has twice opposed the YPG in Syria. Turkish media had shown in recent weeks repeatedly pictures of military convoys in the border area.