Two US commanders hold meetings in Akçakale border town for Syria safe zone
USEUCOM’s U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Stephen Twitty and USCENTCOM’s U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. Thomas Bergeson on Sept. 11 visited the Turkey-U.S. joint operations center in the Akçakale district of the southeastern Şanlıurfa province established for the coordination of activities in the safe zone in northern Syria.
The U.S. commanders on Sept. 10 held talks at the General Staff in Ankara and proceeded their meetings in the border area of Turkey.
Ahead of their visit to Turkey, the EUCOM informed that the U.S. delegation was poised to discuss key topics related to the implementation of the northeast Syria security mechanism with the Turkish side.
“[They] will meet with their Turkish counterparts this week to discuss future support for the combined joint operations center [CJOC] and other key activities that support security mechanism progress and management,” it said.
“Coordination and consultation between the U.S. and Turkey are key to addressing Turkey’s legitimate security concerns in the region. The U.S. and Turkey are working together to rapidly implement the security mechanism and are on time or ahead of schedule in many areas,” it added.
The statement underlined that “continued success of the security mechanism will prevent ISIS [ISIL] from reemerging in northeast Syria and allow the Coalition and our SDF partners to remain focused on defeating ISIS.”
On Aug. 7, Turkish and U.S. military officials agreed to set up a safe zone in northern Syria and develop a peace corridor to facilitate the movement of displaced Syrians who want to return home. They also agreed to establish a joint operations center.
The agreement also envisaged setting up necessary security measures to address Turkey’s security concerns, including clearing the zone of the YPG, a group the U.S. has sometimes been allied with, over Turkey’s objections.
Although the two sides have organized a combined patrol mission in the safe zone, Turkey continues to urge the U.S. not to stall the process. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan had warned of a unilateral military action into northern Syria if the U.S. does not sincerely and committedly act to set up a safe zone in the said enclave.