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  • Turkish armored vehicles crossed the border on Friday to join their Russian counterparts

    Turkish armored vehicles crossed the border on Friday to join their Russian counterparts | Photo: Reuters

Published 1 November 2019

Patrols will extend further along the border and drones will be used to ensure that YPG fighters had left the area.

Turkish and Russian troops carried out their first joint ground patrols in northeastern Syria on Friday under an agreement between the two countries that forced a Kurdish militia to leave the territory near the border with Turkey.

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Turkish armored vehicles crossed the border on Friday to join their Russian counterparts, according to Reuters television images filmed from the Turkish side of the border. About four hours later, they returned to Turkey.

Four Russian vehicles and a drone also participated in the patrol, which was conducted in an area between 40 km east of Ras al Ain and 30 km west of Qamishli, a Turkish security source said.

It was also reported that patrols would extend further along the border and that drones would be used to ensure that YPG fighters had left the area.

The source cited by Reuters reported that there were no direct clashes with Syrian government forces during the raid.

Turkey and allied Syrian rebels launched a cross-border offensive on October 9 against YPG's Kurdish militia, taking control of 120 kilometers of land along the border.

Last week, Ankara and Moscow agreed to withdraw the militia fighters to a depth of at least 30 km south of the border and Russia has told Turkey that the YPG left the strip.

The Turkish-Russian agreement also allowed the Syrian government forces to return to the border regions from which they had been absent for years.

Russia is the Syrian government's most powerful ally and helped it turn the tide in the country's civil war by taking back much of the rebels' hands from 2015.

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