By Mustafa Guclu and Esber Ayaydin
SANLIURFA, Turkey (AA) - Turkish and U.S. armed forces conducted the seventh round of joint helicopter flights on Saturday for a planned safe zone east of the Euphrates River in northern Syria.
According to Anadolu Agency correspondents on the ground, two Turkish and two American helicopters took off from Sanliurfa, southeastern Turkey, where the two countries’ armed forces have a joint operations center.
They flew to the Syrian side of the border.
After an hour-long flight, the helicopters returned to the center.
The countries' armed forces had previously done six joint helicopter flights and two land patrols.
According to Turkey’s National Defense Ministry, the joint patrols were conducted as part of an agreement over the planned establishment of a safe zone in northern Syria.
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.
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 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.
*Writing by Zehra Nur Duz