By Burak Bir and Erdogan Cagatay Zontur
ANKARA (AA) - Turkey will pause its anti-terror operation in northern Syria to allow the withdrawal of YPG from the planned safe zone, said a joint Turkish-U.S. statement on Thursday.
"The safe zone will be primarily enforced by the Turkish Armed Forces and the two sides will increase their cooperation in all dimensions of its implementation," said the statement.
"The Turkish side will pause Operation Peace Spring in order to allow the withdrawal of YPG from the safe zone within 120 hours. Operation Peace Spring will be halted upon completion of this withdrawal," it stressed.
Turkey and the U.S. also agreed that the conditions on the ground, northeast Syria in particular, necessitate closer coordination on the basis of common interests.
"The two sides agreed on the continued importance and functionality of a safe zone in order to address the national security concerns of Turkey, to include the re-collection of YPG heavy weapons and the disablement of their fortifications and all other fighting positions," it added.
The statement also highlighted that when the Operation Peace Spring -- Turkey's anti-terror operation in northern Syria -- is halted, the U.S. current sanctions will be lifted.
Turkey launched Operation Peace Spring in northern Syria on Oct. 9 in order to secure Turkey’s borders, aid the safe return of Syrian refugees, and ensure Syria’s territorial integrity.
Ankara wants to clear the region east of the Euphrates River of the terrorist PKK and its Syrian offshoot, the YPG.
In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK -- listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S., and the European Union -- has been responsible for deaths of 40,000 people, including women, children and infants.