Syria & Lebanon

Russia, Turkey curtail first joint military patrol in Idlib

Russia and Turkey yesterday were forced to cut short their first joint military patrol along the M4 highway linking Syria’s east and west near the north-western province of Idlib due to “rebel provocations”.

The joint patrol was recently reported to have started yesterday morning, in coordination between the two armies.

State-run RIA quoted the statement as saying that a number of fighters “were trying to use civilians as human shields in order to carry out provocations.”

Russian News Agency (TASS) earlier quoted the Turkish defence minister as saying that Russia would carry out patrols along the borders of Idlib, adding that Turkey would do the same “in the areas where arms have been seized from the rebels”. He noted that joint patrols were “important from the standpoint of maintaining the ceasefire in the north-west of Syria.”

Turkey and Russia agreed on 5 March on the details of the ceasefire in the Idlib region after four days of talks in Ankara, part of the joint effort to halt an escalation of violence that has displaced nearly a million people and brought Turkey and Russia closer to direct confrontation.

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