Turkey, US begin joint patrols for Syria safe zone

Baku, September 8, AZERTAC

Turkey and the U.S. military forces begin Sunday the first joint ground patrols for a planned safe zone east of Euphrates in Syria, according to Anadolu Agency.

Turkey’s National Defense Ministry announced the start of the joint ground patrols on Twitter and said the patrols are being supported by unmanned aerial vehicles.

Six Turkish-flagged armored vehicles joined the U.S. military convoy 30 kilometers (18.6 miles) away from Akcakale district of southeastern Sanliurfa province, as part of first phase of safe zone plan, Anadolu Agency correspondent on the ground reported.

The joint forces will proceed to south from Syria’s Tal Abyad and the patrol is expected to continue till noon hours.

On August 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.

A six-member U.S. team arrived in Turkey’s southeast on August 12 in preparations for the center.

The agreement also envisaged setting up necessary security measures to address Turkey's security concerns, including clearing the zone of the terrorist YPG/PKK, a group the U.S. has sometimes been allied with, over Turkey’s objections.

The YPG/PKK is the Syrian offshoot of the PKK terror group, which for more than 30 years has been responsible for the deaths of nearly 40,000 people in Turkey, including many children, women, and infants.

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