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Iran Press TV

Washington-backed Kurdish militants voice support for US-Turkey 'safe zone' in northern Syria

Iran Press TV

Sat Aug 24, 2019 01:35PM

US-backed Kurdish militants operating in northern Syria have expressed their support for a so-called safe zone plan in the area.

Turkey and the United States reached an agreement earlier this month on the establishment of a joint operation center in the northern part of Syria, in the wake of Ankara's threats to launch an operation against Kurdish militants from the People's Protection Units (YPG) to push them away from the Turkish border.

Mazloum Kobani, the head of the so-called Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), said on Saturday that the YPG-led alliance would back the implementation of the deal.

"We will strive to ensure the success of (US) efforts towards implementing the understanding... with the Turkish state," he said.

"The SDF will be a positive party towards the success of this operation," he added.

The US Central Command (CENTCOM) said late Friday that the SDF had begun withdrawing from northeast Syria and demolished their military fortifications in the border area.

"This demonstrates (the) SDF's commitment to support implementation of the security mechanism framework," CENTCOM said on Twitter.

In a statement on Wednesday, the US and Turkish defense ministers "confirmed their intent to take immediate, coordinated steps to implement the framework."

The two sides reached an agreement to immediately launch the first phase of the so-called safe zone plan irrespective of the Damascus government's strong opposition to the scheme.

Turkey views the YPG as the Syria branch of the homegrown Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) militant group, which has been seeking an autonomous Kurdish region in Turkey since 1984.

Turkey expects the creation of a 32-kilometer (20-mile) safe zone in northern Syria, and has stressed that it wants the YPG cleared from the region.

An unnamed source at the Syrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates told the official SANA news agency on August 8 that the US-Turkey agreement over the establishment of a so-called safe zone in Syria amounted to "blatant aggression" against the Arab country's territorial integrity and was a "flagrant violation" of international law and the UN Charter.

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