A day earlier, the Pentagon said security mechanisms of the Syria safe zone agreement will be implemented in stages. Turkey and the US agreed on August 7 to set up a peace corridor and establish a joint operations centre to organise said safe zone.

In this file photo, the Turkish Armed Forces (TAF) and the US military can be seen performing joint patrols near the Turkey-Syria border.
In this file photo, the Turkish Armed Forces (TAF) and the US military can be seen performing joint patrols near the Turkey-Syria border. (AA Archive)

A US military delegation will visit Turkey's southeastern Sanliurfa province on Thursday as part of preparations to set up a Joint Operations Center in northeastern Syria.

On August 7, Turkish and US military officials agreed to set up a safe zone in the northeast, which will function as a peace corridor for displaced Syrians.  The Joint Operations Center would be used to organise the safe zone.

Syria's war, which started in 2011, has killed hundreds of thousands of Syrians and created over 5.6 million refugees, more than half of whom are seeking shelter in Turkey. 

Following a visit to the Turkish General Staff, the delegation led by the deputy commander of the US European Command, Lieutenant General Stephen M Twitty, will head to Sanliurfa, the Turkish National Defense Ministry said. 

The Pentagon on Wednesday said the safe zone agreement between the US and Turkey will be implemented gradually, with some operations beginning soon.

"We are currently reviewing options for the Joint Coordination Center with our Turkish military counterparts," Defense Department spokesman Commander Sean Robertson said.

"The security mechanism will be implemented in stages," Robertson said.

"The United States is prepared to begin implementing some activities rapidly as we continue discussions with Turkey."

Turkey hopes to resettle a portion of the displaced Syrians currently living in the country with the establishment of the safe zone. Ankara also aims to get rid of the PYD/YPG from the region.

Turkey and US have been at odds over Washington backing the PYD/YPG-dominated SDF militia in a battle against Daesh in Syria.

The YPG is the Syrian offshoot of the PKK terrorist organisation. In its 30-year terror campaign against the Turkish state, more than 40,000 people, including women and children, have been killed.

Turkey, the US and the EU recognise the PKK as a terrorist organisation.

Turkey maintains that backing one terrorist group to counter another does not make sense.

Earlier on Monday, a six-member US team arrived in Sanliurfa province to work for the centre’s establishment.

In the face of cross border attacks launched from YPG-controlled areas in northern Syria onto Turkish soil, Ankara has carried out two cross-border operations in Syria in 2016 and 2018, the second of which saw it and allied Syrian opposition and rebels overrun the YPG enclave of Afrin in the northwest.

Turkey has also established demilitarised zones in Syria's northwest Idlib region with Russia. However, the regime, with Moscow's backing, has violated the de-escalation zone with impunity. 

Source: TRTWorld and agencies