Turkish-American joint air and ground patrols have been in progress for a month in the areas east of the Euphrates, particularly between Tell Abyad and Ras al-Ain. Yet, in reality, even the lexicons of the patrols are not joint in nature. Ankara defines the ground operations as “joint efforts to establish safe zones,” while the United States calls them a “security mechanism.” What is clear is that both armies intend to expand their efforts southward.
There is, however, an issue that will impede cooperation: heavy weaponry supplied by the US Army to the Kurdish-dominated Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). Weaponry such as tanks, armored personnel carriers and multiple rocket launchers have mostly been transferred to the People’s Protection Units (YPG) — a sister organization of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which Turkey and the United States consider a terrorist organization.