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Monday 9 September 2019

Turkish and US Troops Hold Joint Patrol in Northern Syria

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DAMASCUS (Ruptly, TASS) — Turkish and US military vehicles were filmed carrying out a joint patrol in Tell Abyad, northern Syria, on Sunday, as part of the introduction of a “safe zone” east of the Euphrates.

Damascus has lambasted US and Turkish patrolling of a planned security zone in northeastern Syria as aggression, the Syrian Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Sunday.

Turkish authorities have reportedly been pushing for the introduction of such a zone, as they consider it would serve as a buffer between Turkey and Syrian Kurdish fighters. The zone is reportedly planned to be about 30 km deep.

“Today was the beginning of the joint patrols involving US and Turkish forces. They went from Tell Abyad to Hasheesha”, said Ryad Abu Khalaf, Commander of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF)-affiliated Military Council in Tell Abyad. “These patrols have a specific programme, Syrian Democratic Forces have withdrawn from the border and we the Military Council of Tell Abyad have replaced them in the area, there are discussions between Turkey and the coalition forces in order to set the duration and locations of these patrols”, he added.

The Turkish and US military agreed on August 7 to set up a joint operations centre in Syria. The first group of the US military, who will work there, arrived in the Turkish town of Urfa (Sanliurfa), located some 50 km from the Syrian border, on August 12. The centre has been established by the two countries in order to fulfil a plan on creating a buffer zone in northern Syria, where Syrian refugees could return from Turkey and which could become a “safety belt” for the Turkish border. Ankara insists that control over the planned security zone must be entirely ensured by the republic’s armed forces.

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