MIDDLE EAST

Turkey, US continue safe zone patrols in northern Syria

The Turkish and U.S. armed forces on Thursday started their fourth joint helicopter flight for a planned safe zone east of the Euphrates River in northern Syria.

Two Turkish helicopters and two U.S. choppers took off from Akçakale in Şanlıurfa, southeastern , where the two countries' armed forces have a joint operations center.

They flew to the Syrian side of the border.

The countries' armed forces had previously done three joint helicopter flights and a land patrol.

On Aug. 7, Turkish and U.S. military officials agreed to set up a 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.

Turkey has insisted that the zone be cleared of the terrorist PKK/YPG, a group that terrorizes locals and poses a threat to Turkey.

In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK -- listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the EU -- has been responsible for the deaths of some 40,000 people, including women, children and infants. The YPG is its Syrian offshoot.

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