Turkish and Russian troops began their first joint ground patrols in northeast Syria on Friday under a deal between the two countries that forced Kurdish fighters to evacuate the “safe zone” on the Syrian side of the fence.
Turkey launched a cross-border offensive on October 9 against the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), dubbed “terrorists” by Turkey, seizing control of 120 km-long and 30 km-deep trip of land along the frontier.
Turkish armoured vehicles on Friday drove through country roads across the border to join their Russian counterparts.
Ground and air units were involved in the patrol in the area of the Syrian border town of Darbasiya, the Turkish Defence Ministry said, showing photographs of four armoured vehicles and soldiers studying a map.
First Turkish-Russian joint patrols with ground and air units are underway east of Ad Darbasiyah in NE Syria as agreed between Turkish and Russian presidents in Sochi on 22 October. pic.twitter.com/daFWbPahx2
— T.C. Millî Savunma Bakanlığı (@tcsavunma) November 1, 2019
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Turkey will now settle 3.6 million Syrian war refugees in this “safe zone” that would cost the state $26 billion.