Syria: Turkey, US begin joint patrols for Syria safe zone

8th Sep 2019
Syria: Turkey, US begin joint patrols for Syria safe zone

By Rauf Maltas

SANLIURFA, Turkey (AA): First joint Turkish-U.S. ground patrols begin Sunday for a planned safe zone east of Euphrates in Syria as Turkish military enters into Syrian territory.

The Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) and U.S. Armed Forces initiated the patrols as part of first phase of safe zone plan.
Turkish-flagged six armored vehicles joined the U.S. military convoy 30 kilometers (18.6 miles) away from Akcakale district of southeastern Sanliurfa province.

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

The region east of the Euphrates river is mainly controlled by Kurdish YPG forces.

Turkey has been threatening to allow Syrian refugees to leave Turkey and allow them to go the West unless a safe zone was created inside Syria for the refugees.

“We will be forced to open the gates,” said Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan on September 5. “We cannot be forced to handle the burden alone.”

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.

A six-member U.S. team arrived in Turkey’s southeast on Aug. 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.

*Writing by Sena Guler

Additional report by The Muslim News

[Photo: A photo taken from Turkey’s Sanliurfa province shows the Turkish armoured vehicles from as Turkey entering into Syria territory to join US troops, first joint ground patrols as part of efforts to establish safe zone east of Euphrates in Syria on September 08, 2019. Photographer: Emin Sansar/AA]

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