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Can the United States and Turkey bridge their differences over Syria's Kurds?

Can the United States and Turkey bridge their differences over Syria's Kurds?”

Following three days of meetings, U.S. and Turkish military delegations agreed to set up a joint operations centre in Turkey to "coordinate and manage the establishment of the safe zone together". The agreement announced Wednesday said that the US and Turkish delegations had agreed to a "rapid implementation of initial measures to address Turkey's security concerns".

"In that framework, to quickly create in Turkey a joint operation center to coordinate and manage the implementation of the safe zone with the USA".

He added: "With the creation of the operations center, the process will begin". Akar has also said, however, that the American officials' views were "moving closer" to Turkey's.

Turkey accuses the YPG of being an offshoot of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which has been engaged in an armed insurgency against the Turkish state since 1978.

"The talks that took place in the Turkish Defense Ministry on August 5-7 with USA military representatives regarding the planned safe zone in the north of Syria in coordination with the United States have been completed".

The announcement came after three days of tense negotiations with U.S. officials hoping to forestall a Turkish attack on the Kurdish YPG group, which controls large swathes of northern Syria.

All sides agree that a buffer zone is needed to keep the YPG away from Turkey's borders, but they have differed on how large it should be, or who should control it.

The talks started after Turkey, which already has a foothold in northwest Syria, said it was considering intervening militarily in the Kurdish-controlled area east of the Euphrates in northern Syria against the YPG.

Turkey has also said it must have ultimate authority over the zone, another point of divergence with the US.

That put the United States in a hard position as a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally of Turkey but also a supporter of the YPG as its main frontline partner against the so-called Islamic State group.

"Our plans, preparations, the deployment of our units in the field are all complete. But we said we wanted to act together with our friend and ally, the United States", state-owned Anadolu news agency quoted him as saying.

The Turkish-American agreement comes as the under-secretary of political affairs for the United Nations said Wednesday that reports suggest more than 100,000 people in Syria have been detained, abducted or gone missing during the eight-year conflict, with the government mainly responsible.



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