Turkey, Middle East

Turkey, US complete first ground patrol for Syria safe zone

Patrol conducted as part of agreement to set up safe zone in northern Syria and develop peace corridor

Sena Guler and Rauf Maltas   | 08.09.2019
Turkey, US complete first ground patrol for Syria safe zone

ANKARA / SANLIURFA, Turkey

Turkey and the U.S. military personnel completed the first joint ground patrol as planned for establishment of a safe zone east of Euphrates in Syria, Turkish National Defense Ministry said on Sunday.

“For the establishment of safe zone east of Euphrates in northern Syria, Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) and the U.S. personnel conducted the first joint ground patrol as planned,” the ministry said on Twitter.

The first joint ground patrol consisted of two phases, organization and operation.

After organizing the patrol plan, the forces headed to Tal Abyad, Syria, located some 25 km (15.5 miles) west.

Following observations, the joint convoy proceeded to the south. The patrol started at around 10 a.m. (GMT 0700) and was completed after three hours.

The patrol was also supported by unmanned aerial vehicles and helicopters.

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.

*Contribution and writing by Sena Guler

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