The Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) reinforced military units along the Syrian border with generators and logistical equipment on Sunday as a military offensive east of the Euphrates could possibly take place soon.The generators and convoy consisting of 10 vehicles loaded with logistical equipment sent from the 20th armored brigade command in southeastern Şanlıurfa province reached the Akçakale district on the border under high security. While Turkey's deployment to the region continues, the U.S. Special Operations Joint Task Force announced on Sunday the destruction of PKK's Syrian affiliate People's Protection Units (YPG) fortifications last week to address Turkey's security concerns along the border.
Yet, Chris Maier, the director of the Defeat-ISIS (Daesh) Task Force at the Department of Defense, stated that a number of arrangements will take time, including the removal of fortifications, which he stressed "does not happen overnight."
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 YPG terrorists, a group the U.S. has sometimes allied with, despite 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.
"We have completed all of our preparations along the border. We are together with the U.S. in NATO, and we have continued our strategic partnership for many years," President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said Saturday about the establishment of a safe zone east of the Euphrates river.
The two countries are working together and taking steps toward the establishment of the planned safe zone; however, Turkish officials have frequently voiced concerns that the U.S. moves are advancing rather slowly on this issue. Upon this, the president and the defense minister announced several times that Turkey is ready and willing to conduct a unilateral offensive in northern Syria if the U.S. once again enters a period of stalling Turkey to continue to work with the terrorist group YPG under the pretext of fighting Daesh.
Erdoğan, Trump discuss bilateral relations, Syria in phone call
Meanwhile, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Sunday discussed Turkey-U.S. bilateral relations, regional developments and Syria in a phone call with his U.S. counterpart Donald Trump, according to the Turkish Presidency of Communications.
Erdoğan is in New York for the 74th U.N. General Assembly.
Before departing from Turkey on Saturday, the Turkish president said he would discuss Syria and the U.S.' continued support for the YPG terrorist group when he met with Trump on the sidelines of the assembly.
He also said Saturday that he would discuss Turkey's possible purchase of Patriot missiles with Trump, which was "not off the table."
Erdoğan earlier on Sunday met with U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham in New York.
Graham told reporters the discussion with the Turkish president had gone well and expressed hope for a more strategic relationship between Ankara and Washington.
Graham also emphasized the importance of Ankara's strategic partnership on Syria, calling Turkey "indispensable" for keeping the war-torn country together and preventing the re-emergence of the Daesh terror group in the northeast.
"Most importantly, Turkey is protecting 4 million people from slaughter," he added.