Turkish and Russian troops completed their eighth round of joint ground patrols in northern Syria yesterday, as part of a security deal reached last month. "In the Ayn al-Arab region, where the land patrols were conducted, UAVs also took part accompanied by four vehicles from each side totaling eight," Turkey's National Defense Ministry said in a statement. The statement also claimed that the patrol took place 10 kilometers (6.2 miles) from Turkey's border and covered a distance of 34 km (21.1 mi). The first joint ground patrols took place on Nov. 1, near Ras al-Ayn and the Qamishli regions east of the Euphrates River. On Saturday, the seventh patrols were carried out in the regions of Qamishli and Derik. Turkey, on Oct. 9, launched Operation Peace Spring aimed at eliminating terrorist group the PKK’s Syrian affiliate, the People’s Protection Units (YPG), from northern Syria in order to secure Turkey's borders, aid in the safe return of Syrian refugees and ensure Syria's territorial integrity.
Ankara wants YPG terrorists to withdraw from the region so a safe zone can be established to pave the way for the safe return of some 2 million refugees. On Oct. 22, Ankara and Moscow reached a deal under which YPG terrorists would pull back 30 km (18.6 mi) south of Turkey's border with Syria, with security forces from Turkey and Russia mounting joint patrols to ensure this would be achieved. In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK, listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the European Union, has been responsible for the deaths of 40,000 people, including women, children, and infants. The YPG is the PKK's Syrian offshoot.
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