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US military officials in Turkey for Syria ’safe zone’ talks

ANKARA, Turkey — Turkey’s defense ministry says two top U.S. military officials are in Turkey for talks over a planned “safe zone” in northeast Syrian.

A ministry statement said a delegation headed by Lt. Gen. Stephen Twitty, deputy commander of the U.S. European Command, and Lt. Gen. Thomas Bergeson, deputy commander of the U.S. Central Command, would meet with Turkish military officials on Tuesday.

Their visit comes days after Turkish and U.S. troops conducted their first joint ground patrol of the “safe zone” that Ankara has been pressing for in the Kurdish-administered region.

Turkey hopes the buffer zone will keep Syrian Kurdish fighters away from its border. Turkey considers the U.S.-backed fighters terrorists.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says rifts remain in the way Turkey and the U.S. envision the zone.

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