ANKARA, Aug. 22 (Xinhua) -- Turkey and the United States have agreed to immediately launch the first phase of the safe zone plan in Syria, following a phone conversation late Wednesday between their defense chiefs, state-run Anadolu agency reported.
Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar and his U.S. counterpart Mark Esper also agreed that military delegations from the two countries will meet in Ankara soon to discuss next stages of Syria safe zone plan, according to a Turkish Defense Ministry statement.
Akar said the safe zone in the east of the Euphrates river in Syria should be established within the framework of the principles set out in the calendar without losing time, the statement said.
Akar had previously said that joint Turkish-U.S. operation center will be fully operational this week in Turkey's southeastern Sanliurfa province near the Syrian border.
On Aug. 7, Turkish and U.S. officials agreed to set up a safe zone and develop a "peace corridor" in northern Syria which would address Ankara's security concerns about a Kurdish faction that controls the territory.
The safe zone would also facilitate the return of displaced Syrians currently living in Turkey to their home country.