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Russian, Turkish forces to patrol either side of new Syrian corridor

Russian, Turkish forces to patrol either side of new Syrian corridor

The Russian military, as well as their Turkish colleagues, will patrol their own side of the security corridor in northwest Syria’s Idlib province. Russians will control the south side while Turkey’s plot of responsibility will be the northern side.

A Russian military delegation arrived in Ankara on Tuesday for talks on details of the agreement, the Turkish top diplomat Mevlut Cavusoglu said. The corridor, which is stretching 6 km north and south of the east-west M4 highway, is due to be agreed within seven days of the accord.

The deal cemented gains by Russian-backed forces over Turkish-backed rebels but stemmed the advances of Syrian presidential forces and eased Ankara’s greatest fear – an influx of more Syrian migrants to join the 3.6 million already in Turkey.

Under the deal, joint Russian-Turkish patrols were to begin along the highway itself on March 15. It was not clear what would happen to the pocket of rebels which it will create to the south of the highway.

The Turkish foreign minister stressed Moscow would ensure that Asad’s forces do not try to enter the corridor along the M4 and that Turkey-back rebels would remain in place.

Commenting on the perspectives of the agreement, Cavusoglu also noted there had been a small violation of the ceasefire by Syrian government forces on Monday and that the Russian patrol had sent them a strong warning.