Turkey, Russia hold seventh round of joint patrols in N Syria

Turkey, Russia hold seventh round of joint patrols in N Syria

Turkey, Russia hold seventh round of joint patrols in N Syria

Turkish and Russian troops completed their fourth seventh ground patrol in northern Syria as part of an agreed-upon deal, according to Turkey's National Defense Ministry on Nov. 16.

"Turkish and Russian units completed their seventh joint land patrol in the Qamishli-Derik sector with four vehicles each and UAV support in the east of the Euphrates," 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.

The fourth joint land patrol between Turkish and Russian units took place in the al-Darbasiyah region east of the Euphrates.

While the fifth joint patrol occurred in the Ayn al-Arab region, the sixth one was carried out in the Darbasiyah region on Nov. 14.

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.