Syria says joint U.S.-Turkish patrols violate country's sovereignty

FILE PHOTO: A Syrian flag flutters in central Damascus, Syria, September 15, 2018. REUTERS/Marko Djurica

BEIRUT (Reuters) - Syria condemned on Sunday joint U.S.-Turkish patrols in a border strip in the northeast of the country, saying it was a “flagrant violation” of its sovereignty, an official statement said.

Armed Turkish military vehicles crossed into Syria on Sunday and headed southwest with their U.S. counterparts to begin planned joint patrols to establish a “safe zone” along a border region mainly controlled by Kurdish forces.

The move was also a violation of the “territorial integrity” of Syria, said the Syrian foreign ministry statement, referring to what the government considers attempts by the U.S.-backed Kurdish YPG militia to divide the country.

Reporting by Suleiman Al-Khalidi