Some 300 Russian police arrive in Syria: Moscow

Some 300 Russian police arrive in Syria: Moscow

Some 300 Russian police arrive in Syria: Moscow

Russia has sent hundreds of additional troops to Syria to help patrol the country’s Turkey-Syria border after a deal between Moscow and Ankara, the Russian Defense Ministry said on Oct. 25.

The ministry said that about 300 military police have arrived in Syria to patrol the northeastern areas along the border with Turkey and oversee the pullout of the YPG/PKK terrorist organization.

Military cargo planes also airlifted armored vehicles for the mission, the ministry's statement said.

The military police, who arrived from the Russian region of Chechnya, will work to ensure the safety of the population and help the YPG withdraw to a line 30 kilometers from the border, Moscow said.

Troops from Chechnya, known for their fierce warrior spirit, have regularly been sent to Syria on rotation bases in recent years.

The Russian military does not release the total number of its contingent in Syria, and it did not say on Oct. 25 how many troops will be involved in the patrol mission on the Turkish border.

After Turkey launched "Operation Peace Spring" into northeastern Syria on Oct. 9, following U.S. President Donald Trump's decision to withdraw the U.S. troops, Moscow and Ankara struck a deal.

Under the Turkish-Russian deal, the YPG has 150 hours starting at noon on Oct. 23 to withdraw from almost the entire northeastern border of Syria, from the Euphrates river to the Iraqi border.

Russia and the Syrian regime’s forces would move in to ensure that the YPG pulls back 30 kilometers (about 20 miles) from the border. The 150-hour timespan expires on Oct. 29.

After the schedule for the withdrawal concludes, joint Turkish-Russian patrols would begin along a 10-kilometer-(roughly 6 miles) wide strip of the border.

The only exception for the joint patrol will be the Qamishli town at the far-eastern end of the border.

On the reasons of the Qamishli exception, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has told journalists that there is Russian and regime forces’ presence in the town, thus they have “no desire to face off against Turkey.”

“We did not want that too. So, we did not initiate such a thing at Qamishli,” he said.

When asked where the YPG will pull back after the withdrawal, Erdoğan said they will move to the southern parts of Syria.

Ankara wants to clear northern Syria east of the Euphrates River of the terrorist PKK and its Syrian offshoot, the YPG/PKK.

The U.S.-backed SDF, a group dominated by the YPG, has been controlling some 28 percent of the Syrian territories, including the most of the 911-kilometer-long Syria-Turkey border.

Turkey deems the YPG the Syrian offshoot of the illegal PKK, which is listed as a terrorist organization also by the United States and the EU.