Russia, Turkey launch patrol mission in Syria's Idlib
Iran Press TV
Sunday, 15 March 2020 10:48 AM
Russia and Turkey have begun jointly patrolling the strategic M4 highway in Syria's embattled northwestern province of Idlib as part of a ceasefire reached earlier this month.
The patrols began from the settlement of Tronba in Idlib, the last militant stronghold in the country, on Sunday.
According to the Russian media, Moscow sent military police and armored vehicles to the patrol. Turkey also dispatched a new military convoy to the region.
The so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) reported on Saturday that a Turkish convoy, consisting of nearly 20 military vehicles, had crossed into the Syrian territory through the Kafr Lusin border crossing, and headed towards Turkish positions.
The Russian-Turkish coordination center will oversee the first joint patrol mission.
On March 5, Russia and Turkey, which support opposite sides in the Syrian conflict, came to an agreement on a ceasefire regime in Idlib, where a Turkish aggression had risked the breakout of a war.
According to the agreement, joint Russian-Turkish patrols will secure a six-kilometer-wide corridor along the M4 highway connecting the two government-held provinces of Latakia and Aleppo.
The ceasefire also consolidates Syrian control over the M5 highway, which links the capital to the major cities of Hama, Homs, and Aleppo.
The ceasefire came a few months after the Syrian army launched an anti-terror operation against foreign-sponsored militants in Idlib after they failed to honor a de-escalation agreement between Ankara and Moscow.
Ankara has long sought a "safe zone" in northern Syria void of Kurdish militants — whom it sees as terrorists tied to the autonomy-seeking Kurdish groups militants at home.
The new pact came after a series of deadly clashes between Turkish and Syrian government troops.
|Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list|