Turkey-US efforts go as planned for Syria safe zone
Turkey-U.S. joint patrols will continue in the coming days to stick to the schedule for establishment of Syria safe zone, Turkey's National Defense Ministry said Sunday.
"Land and air joint patrols will continue in the coming days in order to supervise the activities for the establishment of the safe zone with care and precision, to observe the practices in the field and to proceed in accordance with the schedule," the ministry said in a written statement following the completion of first joint ground patrol in Syria.
It also added the joint efforts are ongoing without any delay to destroy terrorist shelters, to collect their heavy weapons, to ensure necessary conditions for withdrawal of the terrorists and return of Syrians to the area in the aftermath.
Earlier in the day, Turkey and the U.S. military personnel completed the first joint ground patrol for establishment of a safe zone east of Euphrates in Syria.
The patrol was supported by unmanned air 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.
On Aug. 24, 29 and Sept. 5, the U.S.-Turkey reconnaissance flights were also conducted over the area.