Turkey, Russia begin 4th joint patrol in N Syria

Turkey, Russia begin 4th joint patrol in N Syria

ANKARA-Anadolu Agency
Turkey, Russia begin 4th joint patrol in N Syria

Turkish and Russian troops began their fourth joint ground patrol in northern Syria as part of an agreed-upon deal, according to Turkey's National Defense Ministry on Nov. 11.

The patrols are being carried out in al-Darbasiyah town, east of the Euphrates River.

"The fourth joint land patrol between Turkish and Russian units has begun in the al-Darbasiyah region east of the Euphrates with UAV [Unmanned Aerial Vehicle] support as part of the agreement made in Sochi in 22 October 2019," the ministry said in a tweet.

The first joint ground patrols which lasted for four hours completed on Nov. 1. It took place 40 kilometers (25 miles) east of Ras al-Ayn and 30 km (18.6 mi) west of Qamishli city.

On Nov. 5, the two countries conducted the second joint ground patrols which lasted two hours east of Ayn al-Arab and west of Tal Abyad districts.

The third patrols were carried out between the cities of Qamishli and Derik along an 88-kilometer (54.6-mile) route, some 10 km (6.2 mi) from the Turkish border, which marked a first for the Turkish army as it crossed into eastern Qamishli for the very first time, with many reporters watching the developments closely.

Turkey on Oct. 9 launched Operation Peace Spring to eliminate YPG/PKK terrorists from northern Syria in order to secure Turkey's borders, aid in the safe return of Syrian refugees, and ensure Syria's territorial integrity.

Ankara wants YPG/PKK terrorists to withdraw from the region so that a safe zone can be created to pave the way for the safe return of some 2 million refugees.

On Oct. 22, Ankara and Moscow reached a deal under which YPG/PKK terrorists will pull back 30 kilometers (18.6 miles) south of Turkey's border with Syria, and security forces from Turkey and Russia will mount joint patrols there.

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.