U.S. and Turkey Begin Patrol of Syrian Safe Zone

  • Despite the implementation of the joint step as planned, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan launched a scathing attack on the US administration.
  • The chairman of the Tal Abyad military council, Riad Khamis, said that the date of the next patrols is not clear.
  • An official source at the Syrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs affirmed "the rejection of this situation, which aims at complicating and prolonging the crisis in Syria."

In a move that angered the Syrian government, Ankara, and Washington yesterday morning launched their first joint patrols in the area east of the Euphrates River, which is under the control of the Kurds, in implementation of an agreement reached to establish a “safe zone” and prevent the launch of a new and complex military operation. Damascus has promised to bring down the “safe zone.”

Despite the implementation of the joint step as planned, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan launched a scathing attack on the US administration, saying that its efforts are aimed to establish a “safe zone” for a terrorist organization. “We disagree with the United States on every step in Syria,” Erdogan said. “If we don’t start forming the safe zone with our soldiers in the eastern Euphrates before the end of September, we will have no choice but to implement our own plans.”

The People’s Protection Units or People’s Defense Units is a mainly-Kurdish militia in Syria and the primary component of the Syrian Democratic Forces. The YPG mostly consists of ethnic Kurds, but also includes Arabs, foreign volunteers, and is closely allied to the Syriac Military Council, a militia of Assyrians.

After escalating Turkish threats to the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) and SDF, the United States moved diplomatically to protect its allies. After intensive bilateral talks on August 7, the US reached an agreement with Ankara to create a “safe zone” to be implemented gradually.

In the implementation of the most prominent provisions of the agreement, six Turkish armored vehicles entered Syria to join the US armored vehicles in the Tal Abyad area of ​​Raqqa countryside, accompanied by an ambulance and a pick-up truck. About three hours later, the patrols ended and the Turkish vehicles returned.

The chairman of the Tal Abyad military council, Riad Khamis, said that the date of the next patrols is not clear, pointing out that they were limited yesterday, a few kilometers east of Tel Abyad. He said: “We are implementing the agreement and we have no problem with it as long as the mechanism of war is far away from our land and our people.” On the other hand, Damascus expressed its rejection of the agreement, and observers believe that one of Ankara’s objectives is to secure new areas to return Syrian refugees to it.

The Syrian Lira, or Syrian Pound, is the currency of Syria and is issued by the Central Bank of Syria. As a result of the Syrian Civil War, there has been a capital flight to nearby countries including Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt and Turkey. Syria has been subject to sanctions imposed by the United States, the European Union and other countries. As a result, the official exchange rate has deteriorated significantly, falling from 47 SYP for $1 in March 2011 to 515 SYP for $1 in July 2017.

Syrian sovereignty and territorial integrity

An official source at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs affirmed “the rejection of this situation, which aims at complicating and prolonging the crisis in Syria after the Syrian army’s field achievements in chasing terrorist groups.” The Ministry portrayed such attacks by terrorists as targeted at the unity and territorial integrity of Syria.

With the intensification of Western sanctions, Syrian currency recorded an unprecedented decline since the crisis began in 2011. Its exchange rate yesterday against the dollar exceeded 675 lira on the black market. Economists say that the reasons for the low lira are unclear, while others have suggested taking criminal measures against those found guilty of speculating in the dollar, whether banks, people or events.

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George Mtimba

George clarifies how the news is changing the world, how world news trends affect you. Also, George is a professional journalist, a freelance news reporter and writer who is passionate with current world news.


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