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Turkish-US ground patrols of Syria safe zone to start Sunday

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Turkey's defense minister says Turkish and U.S. troops will begin joint ground patrols of a planned so-called safe zone in northern Syria on Sunday. Hulusi Akar made the comments to reporters on Friday.

Turkey has been pressing for the creation of a safe zone that would keep U.S.-backed Syrian Kurdish fighters, considered terrorists by Turkey, away from its border. Turkey also says some Syrian refugees could be resettled in the zone.

Turkey and the U.S. have carried out joint helicopter patrols. On Thursday, Turkey warned that it could "open its gates" and allow Syrian refugees in the country to move toward Western countries if a safe zone is not created and Turkey is left to shoulder the refugee burden alone. Turkey hosts 3.6 million refugees from Syria.

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