Turkey-US efforts go as planned for Syria safe zone: Defense Ministry
“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.
On Aug. 24, 29 and Sept. 5, the U.S.-Turkey reconnaissance flights were also conducted over the area.
Turkey-US top army chiefs discuss safe zone in N Syria
The establishment of a safe zone in the east of the Euphrates River in northern Syria should be set up without any delay, the chief of Turkish General Staff said to his U.S. counterpart on Sept. 7.
In a phone call, Gen. Yaşar Güler explained U.S. Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Joseph Dunford the views and expectations of Turkey about the region, adding that the formation of the safe zone should be done "within the framework of the principles set in the calendar", the Defense Ministry said in a written statement.
Turkish and U.S. military officials reached an agreement on Aug. 7 that a planned safe zone in northern Syria will serve as a "peace corridor" for displaced Syrians wanting to return home and that a Joint Operations Center in Turkey will be set up to coordinate its establishment.
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.