TURKEY AND RUSSIA HOLD FIRST JOINT PATROL IN NORTHEAST SYRIA




İrem UZUN -TDO- Turkish and Russian troops in armored vehicles held their first joint ground patrols in northeast Syria on Friday under a deal between the two countries that forced a YPG militia away from territory near Turkey's border.

Turkey and allied Syrian rebels launched a cross-border offensive on October 9 against the People's Protection Units (YPG), seizing control of 120km-long (75 miles) and 30km-deep (19 miles) strip of land along the frontier. Russia has told Turkey that the YPG left the strip on Wednesday, a week after Ankara and Moscow agreed to remove the YPG fighters from the area.

Turkish armored vehicles on Friday drove across the border to join their Russian counterparts, according to Reuters television footage filmed from the Turkish side of the border. Around four hours later, they returned to Turkey. Ground and air units were involved in the patrol around the Syrian border town of Darbasiya, the Turkish Defense Ministry said on Twitter, showing photos of soldiers studying a map and of four armored vehicles. Four Russian vehicles and a drone also took part in Friday's patrol, conducted in an area between 40 km east of Ras al Ain and 30 km west of Qamishli, a Turkish security source said.