Turkey, Russia hold 9th joint patrol in Syria

Turkey, Russia hold 9th joint patrol in Syria

Turkey, Russia hold 9th joint patrol in Syria

Turkish and Russian forces have carried out their ninth joint patrol along a key highway in northwestern Syria, Turkey’s Defense Ministry said on May 7.

“Within the framework of TUR-RF Agreement/Protocol, the 9th TUR-RF Combined Land Patrol on M-4 Highway in Idlib was conducted with the participation of land and air elements,” the ministry said in a tweet.

The eight joint patrol was carried out on May 5, while the seventh joint patrol, along with the sixth, were carried out during the last week of April.

The M4 highway, also known as the Aleppo-Al Hasakah road, is about 30 kilometers from Turkey’s southern border.

Ankara and Moscow brokered a cease-fire on March 5, which back opposing sides in the Syrian conflict.

The deal halted a three-month Syrian regime’s offensive into the country’s last rebel stronghold. That Russia-backed offensive killed hundreds of civilians and displaced nearly a million people in Idlib province.

The deal also brought about the establishment of a security corridor six kilometers to the north and six km to the south of the M4 highway, a strategic motorway that links Aleppo to Latakia. Turkey controls the northern strip and Russia the southern bank of the corridor.

Joint Turkish-Russian patrols agreed in the deal began on March 15 along the M4 highway from the settlement of Trumba — two kilometers to the west of Saraqib — to the settlement of Ain al-Hawr.

Idlib has long been under siege by the Assad regime forces and its allies, and previous cease-fires for the region were repeatedly violated.