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Turkey says Syria safe zone centre with U.S. fully operational - Anadolu

Turkey says Syria safe zone centre with U.S. fully operational - Anadolu
FILE PHOTO: Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar arrives at NATO headquarters ahead of a Defence Ministers meeting in Brussels, Belgium June 26, 2019. Virginia Mayo/Pool via REUTERS -
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ISTANBUL (Reuters) – A joint Turkish-U.S. operation centre to establish and manage a safe zone in northeast Syria is fully operational, Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar was quoted as saying on Saturday by the state-owned Anadolu news agency.

Turkey and the United States agreed to set up the joint operations centre for the proposed zone along Syria’s northeastern border but gave few details, such as the size of the zone or the command structure of the forces that would operate there.

“The joint operation centre has started working at full capacity. The command of centre is by one U.S. general and one Turkish general,” Akar was quoted as saying.

Akar added that the first joint helicopter flight was due to take place on Saturday after Turkish drones carried out surveillance work in the safe zone area last week.

Washington and Ankara have been at odds over plans for northeastern Syria, where the Kurdish YPG militia formed the main part of a U.S.-backed force fighting Islamic State. Turkey considers the YPG a terrorist group.

(Writing by Ezgi Erkoyun; Editing by Andrew Heavens and Helen Popper)

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