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Provocations against the joint Russian-Turkish patrols in Idlib

Provocations against the joint Russian-Turkish patrols in Idlib

The Russian-Turkish patrols, which agreed to operate earlier this week in Idlib Governorate, northwest of Syria, stopped before they actually started. On Sunday, the Russian Defense Ministry reported shortening the first joint patrols’ path with Turkish forces on the “M4” road in Idlib due to provocations by formations that had been described as terrorists.

Russia and Turkey were conducting the first joint patrol in the Syrian province, where a fragile cease-fire has been settled after weeks of violence, according to what Russian news agencies announced.

Armored vehicles and elements of the Russian military police were launched from the village of Tarnaba to take the international route “M4”, according to the agreement reached on Friday, as explained by the TASS, Interfax and RIA Novosti agencies.

Turkey and Russia, which support two warring parties in the Syrian war, agreed on March 5th, to stop fighting in the Idlib region in northwestern Syria after the escalation of violence led to the displacement of about one million people and the two sides approached the brink of confrontation.

The agreement addresses Turkey’s main concerns of stemming the flow of migrants and preventing further deaths of Turkish soldiers, but it also reinforces recent gains by the Syrian regime forces and leaves the Turkish sites besieged.

About 60 Turkish soldiers have been killed in clashes in the region since last month, but the ceasefire has largely held since March 5th.

Turkey established 12 military observation posts in the Idlib area in accordance with an agreement with Russia in 2018, but many of these sites are now in areas controlled by the Syrian regime. Ankara had previously warned that it would expel the regime forces from the region if it did not withdraw but has yet to do so.

It is reported that under the agreement, Turkish and Russian forces will conduct joint patrols along the M4 highway that links eastern and western Syria and the establishment of a security corridor on both sides.

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