Turkey’s National Defence Ministry underlines that efforts were underway towards the establishment of Joint Operations Center and operation "as soon as possible".
Preparations for an operations centre between Washington and Ankara to establish a safe zone in Syria have begun, Turkey’s National Defence Ministry announced on Tuesday.
The ministry said in a statement that efforts are ongoing for the Joint Operations Center (JOC) to enter service in the province of Sanliurfa, southeastern Turkey, as part of the safe zone in northern Syria planned in coordination with the US.
On Monday, a six-member US team arrived in Sanliurfa province to work for the centre’s establishment.
The ministry underlined that efforts were underway towards the JOC's establishment and operation "as soon as possible".
Turkish and US military officials on Aug. 7 agreed to set up a safe zone and develop a peace corridor to facilitate the movement of displaced Syrians, who are longing to return their home. They also agreed to establish a JOC.
The agreement also envisaged to set up necessary security measures to address Turkey's security concerns.
Alternate plans for northern Syria
Turkey has alternate plans if the safe zone agreement in northern Syria does not work, the Turkish defence minister said on Monday.
In an interview aired on Turkey's TRT Haber news channel, Defence Minister Hulusi Akar notified that some steps are expected in the coming days to enforce a safe zone in northern Syria.
"Airspace control and coordination are very important. There has been a great deal of progress on that," Akar said. He voiced hopes that steps that would be taken with the US in northern Syria would be in line with the spirit of alliance and strategic partnership.
He cautioned that if the understanding with the US on the safe zone does not work, Turkey would unilaterally devise alternate plans in northern Syria.
"Call it a plan B or plan C, if things do not work, we will take recourse to unilateral activities and actions in northern Syria," Akar said.