Turkey and the US reached on a conclusion to establish a joint operation centre to ease tensions between US-backed Kurdish military group and Turkish armed forces in Northern Syria.
The announcement from the Turkish government came after three days of tense negotiations with US officials ready to counter the possible Turkish attack on the Kurdish YPG group, which occupies a large region of Northern Syria.
The defence ministry said in a statement that Turkey had agreed with U.S. officials to “implement without delay” the first possible steps in order to eliminate Turkey’s concerns.
“In that framework, to quickly create in Turkey a joint operation centre to coordinate and manage the implementation of the safe zone with the US.”
An escalation in Turkish military deployments near the Turkish-Syrian border has raised fears of an immense conflict. An enormous stationing of heavy weapons was continued near the strategic northern border town of Tal Abyad, controlled by the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia.
The Turkish military deployments put the United States in a tough position to choose one side, as a Nato ally of Turkey but also a moral and combat supporter of the YPG as its frontline ally in countering the Islamic State.
Both sides agree that a safe zone is needed to keep the YPG away from Turkey’s borders with Northern Syria.
The defence ministry said Turkey’s ultimate objective was to create a “peace corridor” that can “ensure that our Syrian brothers will be able to return to their country”.
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.