MESOPOTAMIA NEWS IMPORTANT :  U.S.-Turkey operation center for Syria safe zone at full capacity: minister

August 25, 2019 MESOP –  RUDAW – ANKARA,— A US-Turkey operations center aimed at creating a safe zone in Syrian Kurdistan (Kurdish northern Syria) is operating at “full capacity”, Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar said Saturday.Under an agreement reached between Ankara and Washington earlier this month after difficult negotiations, the joint operations center will help coordinate the establishment of a buffer between the Turkish border and the Kurdish People’s Protection Units YPG of Syrian Kurdistan — which is supported by the US.

“The center of joint operations has begun to operate at full capacity,” Akar told state news agency Anadolu. He said the first joint helicopter flight took place on Saturday afternoon.

Akar’s statement comes shortly after the YPG military group — which has been a key US ally in Syria but is deemed by Turkey to have terrorist links — said they would help implement the buffer zone in their Kurdish areas along the Turkish border.

Ankara considers the YPG to be an extension of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

Turkey has repeatedly threatened to launch a new military offensive against YPG forces in Syrian Kurdistan, where the Kurdish group controls a large swathe of land.

The operations center was initially suggested by Washington to dissuade Ankara from carrying out another cross-border attack, after previous offensives in 2016 and 2018.