Turkey and Russia begin joint patrols in northern Syria

Turkey and Russia begin joint patrols in northern Syria
Locals pelted Turkish and Russian armoured vehicles with shoes as they began patrols near Kobane.
2 min read
05 November, 2019
Russian and Turkish troops held joint patrols in northern Syria [Getty]
Russia and Turkey held joint patrols in northern Syria on Tuesday, in areas taken over from Kurdish fighters.

Video and images shared on social media show Russian and Turkish troops on patrol in areas near Kobane (also known as Ain Al-Arab), following a deal that saw the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) withdraw from areas close to the Syria-Turkey border.

"The second joint patrol... began in the region of Ayn al-Arab (Kobane) to the east of the Euphrates," the Turkish defence ministry said in a statement.

Turkish troops and Russian military police were stood guard while sappers conducted demining operations in fields around the village of Marj-Ismail, east of Kobane.

Armoured vehicles on patrol in the area were pelted with shoes and stones by locals in villages nearby.

The patrols began on Friday and were agreed after the withdrawal of fighters from the Kurdish-dominated People's Protection Units (YPG), the largest component of the SDF.

Turkey launched an offensive into northern Syria last month with the aim of creating a "safe zone" that would push the YPG away from the border and create space to repatriate Syrian refugees. 

Ankara and its Syrian allies now control a 120-kilometre stretch of territory in northern Syria, including the towns of Tal Abyad and Ras al-Ain, as part of its "safe zone" plan. 

The operation comes after American troops withdrew from the border, which gave Turkey a "green light" to move in, critics allege.

Turkey President Recep Tayyip Erdogan accused the US of conducting joint operations with SDF fighters

"Unfortunately, America is carrying out its own patrols with YPG terrorists... Such a thing is not possible," Erdogan said. 

The Syrian regime have also moved into towns previously controlled by the YPG.

Kurdish fighters were key to the fightback against the Islamic State group, who lost the last village under their control in March following a US-backed SDF assault.

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