Turkish-Russian Joint Patrol Hit By Blast In Northwest Syria
August 17, 2020
A Turkish military vehicle was damaged by an explosion during a joint patrol with Russian troops in northwest Syria's Idlib region, but there were no casualties.
The RIA Novosti news agency cited Russia's Defense Ministry as saying on August 17 that no Russian soldiers were wounded in the incident, which occurred during a patrol along the strategic M4 highway connecting Syria's east and west.
Turkish security officials said there had been an attack that caused material damage but no deaths.
The incident came as the Kremlin said that Russian President Vladimir Putin discussed the conflicts in Syria and Libya with his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in a telephone call on August 17.
Russia and Turkey brokered a cease-fire in Idlib on March 5, following a months-long Russia-backed offensive by Syrian forces that displaced nearly 1 million people and threatened to send a flood of refugees into Turkey.
As part of the cease-fire deal, Turkish and Russian troops conduct joint patrols in a buffer zone between rebel fighters and Syrian government forces along a section of the M4 highway.
On August 13, Russia said the joint military patrols in Idlib had been suspended over increasing militant attacks in the area.
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said the attacks by "radicals" and "terrorists" prompted the decision to temporarily halt the joint patrol.
Based on reporting by Reuters, Interfax, and RIA Novosti
Copyright (c) 2020. 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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