Turkey-Russia 3rd joint patrols start in NE Syria

Source: Xinhua| 2019-11-08 17:20:51|Editor: xuxin
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ANKARA, Nov. 8 (Xinhua) -- Turkish and Russian troops on Friday began their third joint patrol in northern Syria between cities Qamishli and Derik, under a deal that stipulates the withdrawal of Syrian Kurdish militia away from Turkey's border.

"Within the framework of the agreement reached with Russia in Sochi on Oct. 22, 2019, the third joint land patrol began with the participation of Turkish and Russian military elements and UAVs in the region between Kamisli (Qamishli) and Derik in the east of Euphrates," the said a Turkish defense ministry statement.

The joint patrols aim to monitor the withdrawal of the Syrian Kurdish fighters and to ensure security. The second joint patrol was carried out in the east of Ayn al-Arab and west of Tal Abyad districts, while the first one was in the east of Ad Darbasiyah.

The patrols are part of a memorandum between Ankara and Moscow to remove fighters of the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) 30 km from the Turkish border.

Ankara sees the YPG as the Syrian offshoot of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).

On Oct. 9, Turkey launched a military incursion, codenamed Operation Peace Spring, into northern Syria, in a bid to drive Kurdish fighters out of the border region, following the pullout of U.S. troops.

The U.S. reached a deal with Turkey on Oct. 17, imposing a five-day cease-fire to allow the Kurdish forces to pull back from the planned "safe zone" that Turkey wants to create in northern Syria to ensure its border security.

On Oct. 22, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin held a meeting in Sochi, Russia, agreeing on the pullout of the YPG fighters to 30 km south of Turkey's border within 150 hours and the launch of joint patrols between Turkish and Russian soldiers 10 km from the Turkish border in an agreed region that excludes the city of Qamishli.