Turkey and Russia start first joint patrols in north-eastern Syria
Istanbul/Moscow (dpa) – Turkish and Russian troops started their first joint patrols on Friday in north-eastern Syria, in line with a deal reached last week between Ankara and Moscow.
The joint patrols “with ground and air units” were under way east of the Syrian border town of al-Darbasiyah, Turkey’s Defence Ministry tweeted.
Russia’s Defence Ministry confirmed that the patrol involving Russian military police and Turkish border guards began at the al-Darbasiyah border checkpoint.
The convoy consisted of several armoured vehicles, including a Russian BTR-82, Tigr and Typhoon vehicles, and Turkish Kirpi vehicles, the Russian ministry said in a statement.
They were to patrol an area of more than 110 kilometres, it added.
The focus of Friday’s patrols will be between al-Darbasiyah and Qamishli, at a depth of 10 kilometres, Turkish state broadcaster TRT reported.
The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) confirmed the patrols’ launch to dpa.
On October 22, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Russian President Vladimir Putin struck a deal to share control of north-eastern Syrian border areas, giving Syrian Kurdish militias 150 hours to vacate.
Under the 10-point agreement, Turkey will retain control of the area it seized during the offensive it launched on October 9, which was green-lighted by President Donald Trump when he ordered US troops to pull back.
This territory between the border towns of Tal Abyad and Ras al-Ain is about 100 kilometres long.
Turkey’s Defence Ministry said a second Russian military delegation would be in Ankara on Friday to discuss technical issues related to the Sochi deal.
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