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Turkey, U.S. deal on Syrian safe zone "good start": Turkish FM


Friday August 9, 2019


Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, reviews an honour guard prior to a welcome ceremony for Ukraine's President Vladimir Zelenskiy, at the Presidential Palace in Ankara, Turkey, Wednesday, Aug. 7, 2019.   AP, POOL / PRESIDENTIAL PRESS SERVICE

ANKARA, Aug. 8 (Xinhua) -- An agreement between Turkey and the United States on establishing a safe zone in northeastern Syria is a "very good start," Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Thursday.

"The establishment of a framework has been agreed on. It is important to set up a joint operation center for steps that will be taken from now on," the minister told reporters.

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On Wednesday, Turkey and the U.S. agreed to establish a joint operation center in Turkey to coordinate and manage a planned safe zone in northeastern Syria, a move that appeared to reduce the chance of imminent Turkish military incursion.

"Turkey is determined to unilaterally remove the region from terrorists," the minister said, referring to Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) which Ankara sees as the Syrian branch of the banned Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).

The U.S. has seen this and stepped up to "make this together," Cavusoglu added.

The minister also underlined that the U.S. has to collect the weapons it delivered to the YPG.

"Our decision is to create a safe zone so that there are no terrorists," Cavusoglu added.

Cavusoglu also warned that Turkey would not allow the safe zone process with the U.S. to stall and suffer the same fate as a deal with Washington on the Syria's Manbij.

The Manbij deal last year stipulated complete withdrawal of the YPG from the town. However, Ankara accuses the U.S. of dragging its feet for removal of the YPG members from Manbij.



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