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Turkish forces begin Syria patrols as part of deal with Russia

Turkish forces begin Syria patrols as part of deal with Russia

Turkish convoy of military cars has started patrolling in the western countryside of Aleppo, Syria, Anadolu reported. Following the deal reached last week in Sochi, Turkish patrols started their duty.

Turkish forces started patrolling the north-western Syria province of Idlib yesterday, that task is a part of the agreement reached at a summit in Sochi, Russia. The patrols extend from Idlib’s north to the southern countryside of Aleppo province. The mission follows a deal reached in mid-February 14 between presidents of Turkey, Russia and Iran.

According to Rami Abdel Rahman, head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, the patrolling marks an important step for the continuation of ceasefire and maintaining stability in critically important for Syria province.

“The patrols started only from one Turkish observation point to another,”  Mr Rahman added.

Demilitarization zone in Syria

Turkey and Russia have reached an agreement to establish a demilitarised buffer zone in the enclave last year, that move should prevent a major government offensive there. Since 2018, Turkey has set up 12 “observation posts” while Russia has 10 posts in a “15-20-km-wide” demilitarized zone (DMZ) in Idlib. The restrictions on the use of air space over Idlib and the Turkish-controlled enclave of Afrin in northern Syria are “lifted as of today.”

Turkey, which is NATO ally, has supported rebels against the Syrian regime of President Assad, who is backed both by Russia and Iran. Over eight years of the civilian war in Syria, Assad was accused of the “brutal bombardment” of civilians in Idlib, calling on Moscow to “stop the regime.” Assad’s forces have been carrying out shelling of Idlib, which is largely controlled by Al Qaeda-affiliated Hayat Tahrir al-Sham coalition.

The start of the Turkish patrolling mission should prevent misunderstandings and provocations in Idlib, believe the international observers.