Syria has censured a recent decision by Turkish and US military forces to begin joint ground patrols in a so-called safe zone east of the Euphrates in northeastern Syria, arguing that the move constitutes a blatant violation of the international law and the Syrian sovereignty.
“The Syrian Arab Republic condemns in the strongest terms the US administration and the Turkish regime for conducting joint patrols in the Syrian al-Jazirah region, which is in flagrant violation of the international law as well as the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Syria,” an unnamed official source at the Syrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates told Syria’s official news agency SANA on Sunday.
“Syria stresses that this step represents (an act of) aggression in every sense of the word, and is meant to complicate and prolong the Syrian crisis in the wake of the Syrian Arab Army’s achievements in pursuit of remnants of terrorist groups.”
The source said the Syrian Arab Republic, while reiterating its rejection of the so-called safe area, dismisses all projects aimed at undermining the unity and territorial integrity of the country.
Earlier in the day, Turkey’s Defense Ministry announced the start of the joint patrols in a post published on its official Twitter page, and said the patrols are being supported by unmanned aerial vehicles.
Six Turkish-flagged armored vehicles joined the US military convoy 30 kilometers (18.6 miles) away from Akcakale district of the southeastern province of Sanliurfa, as part of the first phase of the safe zone plan, Turkey’s official Anadolu news agency reported.
The report added that the joint forces will proceed to the south from Syria’s town of Tal Abyad, and the patrols are expected to continue till noon hours.