Turkey, Russia hold 8th round of joint patrol in northern Syria

2019-11-19 03:22:27 GMT2019-11-19 11:22:27(Beijing Time) Xinhua English

ANKARA, Nov. 18 (Xinhua) -- Turkish and Russian troops held the eighth round of joint patrol in northern Syria under a deal reached last month for withdrawal of Syrian Kurdish fighters, said Turkey's Defense Ministry on Monday.

"Turkish and Russian units completed their eighth joint land patrol according to plan with the participation of UAVs in the east of the Euphrates. In the Ayn al-Arab region, where the land patrol was conducted, UAVs also took part and were accompanied by four vehicles from each side totalling eight," said a written statement by the ministry.

Turkish and Russian units patrolled an area of 34km length and 10km depth, the ministry noted.

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.

On Oct. 9, Turkey launched a military incursion, named 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" which 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.