Turkey, U.S. conduct joint patrols in northeastern Syria

Turkey and the United States on Sunday have begun joint patrols in a planned safe zone in northern Syria under a roadmap that was agreed last month, pro-Kurdish Mezopotamya agency reported.

"The joint patrol, which is expected to last for about four hours, has started after the meeting of Turkish armoured vehicles with 7 U.S.-flagged armoured vehicles," Mezopotamya said.

Turkey has been negotiating a deal with the United States to create what it calls a safe zone inside Syria along its border by securing the withdrawal of Kurdish groups that Ankara views as terrorists.

The People’s Protection Units (YPG) and its affiliates have fought in the U.S.-backed international coalition against the Islamic State, and now control a large territory in north and east Syria.

But Turkey says it will not accept the presence on its border of groups linked to militants of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), who have fought the Turkish state for Kurdish self-rule since 1984.

Since U.S. and Turkish officials set up a “joint operations centre” to work on the safe zone in early August, preliminary flyovers have taken place with drones and helicopters.