Turkey, Russia begin joint military patrols in northern Syria

Published 01.11.2019 11:40
Updated 01.11.2019 16:33
Turkish and Russian military vehicles are seen during a joint patrol in northeast Syria, Nov. 1, 2019. (Reuters Photo)
Turkish and Russian military vehicles are seen during a joint patrol in northeast Syria, Nov. 1, 2019. (Reuters Photo)

Turkish and Russian militaries began their joint patrols in northern Syria with the participation of eight armored vehicles and unmanned aerial vehicles, the Defense Ministry said Friday.

The ministry noted that the joint patrol was conducted 40 kilometers east of Ras al-Ayn and 30 kilometers west of Qamishli.

Meanwhile, the ministry also said that the Turkish military destroyed an explosive workshop used by the YPG terrorists, confiscating over a ton of ammonium nitrate.

"Over 400 mines and improvised explosive devices and a bomb-laden vehicle have been neutralized in the operation," the ministry said.

The military also detonated 75 rockets directed toward Turkey in Syria's Tal Abyad.

Ankara and Moscow agreed to conduct the joint patrols during high-level talks between President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Russian President Vladimir Putin in Sochi on Oct. 22.

The two countries reached a deal under which the PKK-affiliated People's Protection Units (YPG) terrorists will pull back 30 kilometers (18 miles) south of Turkey's border with northern Syria within 150 hours.

The patrols are scheduled be conducted in an area 10 kilometers into Syrian territory.

Chief of Staff Gen. Yaşar Güler and his Russian counterpart Valery Gerasimov discussed the latest developments in Syria in a phone call earlier Friday.

Turkey's Defense Ministry said a Russian military delegation was expected in Ankara on Friday to discuss tactical and technical matters regarding the joint patrols.

Erdoğan and Putin reached the deal amid a U.S.-brokered pause in a Turkish anti-terror military operation in Syria.

The operatğon in question, Operation Peace Spring, was launched on Oct. 9 as the third in a series of Turkish cross-border anti-terror operations in northern Syria targeting terrorists affiliated with Daesh and the PKK's Syrian offshoot the YPG.

The operation aims to drive Daesh, and YPG terrorists away from Turkey's southeastern border with Syria and establish a terror-free safe zone for the repatriation of Syrian refugees.

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