More Russian Military Police Arrive In Syria After Moscow-Ankara Deal
October 25, 2019
Russia says some 300 of its military police have arrived in Syria to patrol the Turkish border area, following an accord between Moscow and Ankara that extended a pause in the Turkish military operation aimed at driving Kurdish fighters away from the area.
The Russian Defense Ministry on October 25 said the military police had arrived from Chechnya, while more than 20 armored vehicles were transported from the Rostov and Krasnodar regions to Russia's Hmeimim air base in western Syria.
As a five-day cease-fire brokered by Washington was set to expire on October 22, Russia and Turkey agreed to a deal under which Russian and Syrian forces will oversee the withdrawal of Kurdish militia from within 30 kilometers of the border between Syria and its neighbor.
Russian military police conducted their first patrols on October 23.
Turkey's assault against Kurdish fighters, whom Turkey regards as terrorists, began after President Donald Trump's decision to withdraw U.S. troops from the region earlier this month.
But the Pentagon on October 24 said it would bolster the U.S. military presence to prevent potentially resurgent Islamic State (IS) extremists from seizing the oil fields.
It did not specify a number of troops or the exact location of their intended base of operation, but it appeared to be a reference to oil fields in Deir el-Zour Province of Syria.
The statement came a day after Trump said a few troops would stay behind to protect oil fields, and suggested a figure of between 200-300 troops.
Based on reporting by AFP and Interfax
Copyright (c) 2019. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.
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