Turkey, Russia begin 4th joint patrols in N. Syria

AA File Photo

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

The patrols are being carried out in al-Darbasiyah town, east of the Euphrates River.

"The fourth joint land patrol between Turkish and Russian units has begun in the al-Darbasiyah region east of the Euphrates with UAV [Unmanned Aerial Vehicle] support as part of the agreement made in Sochi in 22 October 2019," the ministry said in a Twitter post.

The first joint ground patrols which lasted for four hours 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.

The third patrols were carried out between the cities of Qamishli and Derik along an 88-kilometer (54.6-mile) route, some 10 km (6.2 mi) from the Turkish border, which marked a first for the Turkish army as it crossed into eastern Qamishli for the very first time, with many reporters watching the developments closely.

Turkey on Oct. 9 launched Operation Peace Spring to eliminate YPG/PKK terrorists 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/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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