Turkey and Russia held the sixth round of joint land patrols on the M4 highway in northwestern Syria’s Idlib on Tuesday with the participation of land and air elements as part of the cease-fire agreement reached by the two countries on March 5.
“Within the framework of TUR-RF Agreement/Protocol, the 6th TUR-RF Combined Land Patrol on M-4 Highway in Idlib was conducted with the participation of land and air elements,” the Turkish Defense Ministry wrote on Twitter.
Just hours later, Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu spoke on the phone with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov. The two top diplomats discussed regional issues and the coronavirus pandemic.
The M4 highway, also known as the Aleppo-al-Hasakah road, is about 30 kilometers (19 miles) from Turkey's southern border.
Last month, Ankara and Moscow agreed on a protocol urging parties to "cease all military actions along the line of contact in the Idlib de-escalation area" starting on March 6.
The protocol said joint Turkish-Russian patrols would begin on March 15 along the M4 highway from the settlement of Trumba – 2 kilometers to the west of Saraqib – to the settlement of Ain al-Havr.
Idlib has long been under siege by Assad regime forces and its allies, and previous cease-fires for the region were plagued by violations.
Turkey has worked to protect the local civilian population as well as rid the wider region of terrorist elements.