US delegation arrives in Turkey to implement Syria safe zone

Military vehicles belonging to the Turkish armed forces are being dispatched to border with Syria on 10 September 2018 [Cem Genco/Anadolu Agency]
A US delegation arrived in Turkey yesterday to begin working with the Turkish government to implement the deal struck between them to create a safe zone in northern Syria. The Defence Ministry in Ankara said that six US officials arrived in Şanlıurfa in the south-east of Turkey to start setting up the joint operations centre as part of the deal. The centre is said to be opening “in the coming days.”

The deal agreed by Turkey and the US last week ensures the gradual establishment of a safe zone near the Turkish-Syrian border for Syrian civilians escaping the conflict. Kurdish militias should also be driven further away from the border.

The move was met with anger by the Syrian regime under President Bashar Al-Assad. It called the deal “expansionist” and “aggressive”, and accused Ankara and Washington of violating Syria’s sovereignty. Nevertheless, most sides have been positive about the agreement, as it staved off a Turkish military operation which Ankara threatened to conduct if the negotiations did not lead to a safe zone.

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