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US, Kurdish Troops Resume Joint Patrols in Northeast Syria

American soldiers resumed joint patrols with the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in northeast Syria on Saturday. The patrols were discontinued amid Turkish airstrikes on the suspected hideouts of Kurdish fighters in northern Syria and Iraq and threats to launch a new ground offensive in Syria. Turkey launched its recent attacks in retaliation for the November 13 bombing that killed six people and injured 81 in Istanbul’s Beyoğlu district. Ankara blames the bombing on Kurdish extremists. On Tuesday SDF commander Mazloum Abdi said his group’s joint operations with the Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve, the US-led coalition fighting the Islamic State group had been “temporarily paused.” The patrol on Saturday comprised five armored vehicles – four carrying American soldiers and one from the SDF. It left a US base near the northeastern town of Rmelan in al-Hasakah Governorate, 400 miles northeast of the capital Damascus, and drove northeast toward another US base near the Iraqi border. Around 900 US troops are stationed in Syria.