US conducts new joint patrol with Turkey in northeast Syria

BEIRUT (AP) — The United States (US)-led coalition said it’s conducted the third joint patrol with Turkey in northeastern Syria, part of a plan designed to defuse tensions between its NATO ally and Syrian Kurds.

The coalition said the patrol went ahead as planned yesterday. Washington said the deal reached with Ankara in August aims to address Turkey’s security concerns.

Ankara views Syrian Kurdish fighters as an extension of a Kurdish insurgency within Turkey and wants them away from the shared border, calling it a “safe zone.”

So far, fighters from the most prominent Syrian Kurdish group – the People’s Protection Units (YPG) – have moved away from border posts.

But Turkey remains unhappy with the size of the area. It also wants some of the 3.6 million Syrian refugees to return there.

A US soldier oversees members of the Syrian Democratic Forces as they demolish a Kurdish fighters’ fortification and raise a Tal Abyad Military Council flag over the outpost as part of the so-called ‘safe zone’ near the Turkish border. PHOTO: AP