Turkey, US continue safe zone patrols in N Syria
ŞANLIURFA- Anadolu Agency
The Turkish and U.S. armed forces on Sept. 12 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 Turkey, 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 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.
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.
3,000 Syrians leave Turkey for liberated homeland
Meanwhile, in August, some 3,000 Syrians returned to areas of their home country cleared of terrorist groups by cross-border Turkish military operations.
Taking refuge in Turkey as civil war gripped Syria, they were able to return after applying to a voluntary return program.
The Turkish migration management office in Öncüpınar, southeastern Turkey, provided the Syrians with buses for their journey home.
Turkey's Foreign Ministry said that over 340,000 Syrians returned to their homes after successful Turkish counter-terror operations in the region, referring to Operations Euphrates Shield and Olive Branch.