Turkey, Russia begin 3rd joint patrols in N. Syria

DHA Photo

Turkish and Russian militaries started holding the third round of joint patrols in the rural Qamishli area in northern Syria on Friday.

Turkish and Russian troops began their third joint ground patrols in northern Syria as part of an agreed-upon deal, according to Turkey's National Defense Ministry on Friday.

The patrols will be carried out in Qamishli and Derik cities, east of the Euphrates, which were cleared of terrorists by Turkey.

"Within the framework of the agreement reached with the Russian Federation 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 Kamışlı and Derik east of Euphrates," the ministry said in a tweet, using another spelling for Qamishli.

The first joint ground patrol which lasted for four hours was completed on Nov. 1. It took place 40 kilometers (25 miles) east of Ras al-Ayn and 30 km (18.6 mi) west of Qamishli city.

On Nov. 5, the two countries conducted the second joint ground patrols which lasted two hours east of Ayn al-Arab and west of Tal Abyad districts .

Ras al-Ayn and Tal Abyad were cleared of terrorists during Turkey's Operation Peace Spring -- launched on Oct. 9 to eliminate terrorists from northern Syria east of the Euphrates River in order to secure Turkey's borders, aid in the safe return of Syrian refugees and ensure Syria's territorial integrity.

Ankara wants YPG/PKK terrorists to withdraw from the region so that a safe zone can be created 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/PKK terrorists will pull back 30 kilometers (18.6 miles) south of Turkey's border with Syria, and security forces from Turkey and Russia will mount joint patrols there.

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 Syrian offshoot of the PKK.

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