A Russian armored vehicle was attacked during the 26th joint Russian-Turkish patrol in Syria’s northwestern Idlib, the Russian and Turkish defense ministries announced in separate statements Tuesday.
“A vehicle in the convoy has been slightly damaged due to the explosion that took place during the 26th joint ground patrol on the M4 highway in Idlib within the scope of the March 5 agreement between Turkey and Russia,” the Turkish Defense Ministry said in a written statement.
According to the Interfax news agency, the Russian Defense Ministry stated that two servicemen had been injured.
A similar attack, where a Turkish military vehicle was hit by a blast, took place during the 25th joint Russian-Turkish patrol last week.
Turkey and Russia, which back opposing sides in Syria's war, agreed on March 5 to halt military activity in the northwestern Idlib region after an escalation of violence displaced nearly 1 million people and brought the two sides close to confrontation. The deal addresses Turkey's main concerns, stopping a flow of refugees and preventing the deaths of more Turkish soldiers on the ground.
As part of the agreement, Turkish and Russian forces have been carrying out joint patrols along the M4 highway linking Syria's east and west and established a security corridor on either side of it. The first patrols took place on March 15.
Idlib has long been under siege by the Bashar Assad regime's forces and its allies, and previous cease-fires for the region were plagued by violations.
Since April 2018, attacks on the last opposition stronghold have dramatically intensified and caused new waves of refugees to move toward the Turkish border, putting Turkey, which already hosts 3.7 million Syrians, into a difficult position.
As a result, Turkey, which has the second-largest army in the transatlantic NATO alliance, has funneled troops and equipment into the region to stop the Syrian regime's advance and to avoid a fresh wave of refugees.
Currently, Turkish soldiers are stationed in the region to protect the local population and oppose terrorist groups.
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