Turkish drones in Syria


Turkish drones have started operating in northern Syria where Washington and Ankara agreed to create a safe zone, Turkey’s Defence Ministry said.

Turkey and the United States agreed last week to set up a joint operations centre for a safe zone in northern Syria. No agreement has been announced on key details such as size and the command structure of joint patrols.

A six-person US delegation is in the southern Turkish province Sanliurfa to work on establishment of the operations centre.

The Defence Ministry said in a statement work was continuing to make the joint operations centre in Sanliurfa operational.

It added Turkish drones started working in the area where the safe zone will be, but did not provide further information on drone operations.

Washington and Ankara are at odds over plans for north-eastern Syria, where US allies on the ground in the battle against Islamic State include the Kurdish YPG militia, which Turkey considers an enemy and a terrorist group.

The allies discussed a safe zone near the Turkish frontier kept free of combatants and heavy weapons, but Turkey wants it to extend more than twice as far into Syrian territory as the United States proposed.

Turkey suggested it will act militarily if the United States fails to agree a solution to safeguard the border.

Turkey says the YPG is an extension in Syria of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which has waged an insurgency against the Turkish state since the 1980s.

Washington and Ankara are also at odds over other issues, including Turkey’s purchase of the Russian S-400 missile defence system, as well as the trial of local US consulate employees in Turkey on terrorism charges.