Coalition says 'good progress' in north Syria buffer zone

The international coalition on Sunday (September 15th) said that "good progress" was being made in implementing a buffer zone in northern Syria along the Turkish border, AFP reported.

Turkey and the US last month agreed on the so-called "security mechanism" to create a buffer between the Turkish border and Syrian areas controlled by the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG).

The YPG led the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in the battle against the "Islamic State of Iraq and Syria" (ISIS) in Syria, but Ankara views the Kurdish fighters as "terrorists".

The US and Turkey launched their first joint patrol of the border areas on September 8th.

A coalition delegation on Sunday met with members of a military council in Tal Abyad, from which Kurdish forces started withdrawing late last month.

"We are seeing good progress for the initial phase of security mechanism activities," the coalition said in a statement.

"The coalition and SDF have conducted multiple patrols to identify and remove fortifications to address concerns from Turkey," the statement said.

"Four joint US and Turkish military overflights" by helicopter were also carried out, it said.

Riad al-Khamis, a joint head of Tal Abyad military council, said the SDF had withdrawn from the area, to be replaced by the local forces.

He announced US-Turkish "joint patrols in the coming days to ensure the security of the border and the area".

"They will be joint patrols between the coalition or US and Turkey in co-ordination with us, the Tal Abyad military council," he said.

"The coalition has promised to train the military personnel (of the council) -- who are from this area -- and support them logistically," he said.

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