Turkey’s National Defence Ministry announced on Monday that the first United States’ delegation arrived in the south-eastern border province of Şanlıurfa to initiate efforts for a joint operations centre to develop a safe zone along the Syrian border, as demanded by Turkey.
“A six-person U.S. delegation has arrived in Şanlıurfa to start working on preliminary efforts to set up a Joint Operations Centre. The Operations Centre is expected to become active in the coming days,” according to the Ministry.
A 90-person U.S. military unit has also arrived in the south-eastern province, opposition newspaper Cumhuriyet claimed on Monday.
Following months of negotiations between Turkey and the United States, last week the U.S. agreed to develop a joint operations centre to solve Turkey’s security concerns in northern Syria and create a safe zone in the region. Both sides agree that a safe zone is needed to keep the YPG away from Turkey’s borders with Northern Syria.
The YPG was established in 2004 as the armed wing for the Kurdish leftist Democratic Union Party. It expanded its boundaries and operations rapidly in the Syrian Civil War and end up dominating over other armed Kurdish groups.
Turkey sees the YPG as the Syrian offshoot of the PKK, which has been at war with the Turkish state for the last 41 years.
In early 2015, the group won against, The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, ISIL at the Siege of Kobani and started receiving air and ground combat support from the United States and other coalition nations. Since then, the YPG has started fighting against ISIL, as well as against Syrian rebel groups, occasionally.
The YPG has been criticized by Turkey for its alleged support for the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, especially after the rebellion movement in southern Turkey that began in 2015.