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    ‘Safe zone in N Syria should be established fast’

    Safe zone in northern Syria should be established fast and finalized, we do not have time to waste, the Turkish defense minister said on Tuesday.

    “We are closely following developments in the east of the Euphrates and our army is ready in all aspects,” said Hulusi Akar, speaking to journalists after a reception in the capital Ankara.

    Turkey wants to act in line with the spirit of NATO alliance and strategic partnership, said Akar.

    “Our demand is purely humanitarian, there is a tragedy in Syria. We want people to return to their home in peace and security. This can happen when terrorists are cleared out,” Akar stated.

    Akar also said that shooting down an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) near the Syrian border was an “ordinary incident”.

    “Turkish Air Forces strongly defends our airspace,” he said, and added: “The investigation into determining the nationality of the UAV is underway”.

    Turkish F-16s on Sunday shot down an UAV of unknown nationality near the Syrian border after it violated Turkish airspace multiple times.

    Turkish and U.S. military officials agreed on Aug. 7 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 to their homeland.

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