icon bookmark-bicon bookmarkicon cameraicon checkicon chevron downicon chevron lefticon chevron righticon chevron upicon closeicon v-compressicon downloadicon editicon v-expandicon fbicon fileicon filtericon flag ruicon full chevron downicon full chevron lefticon full chevron righticon full chevron upicon gpicon insicon mailicon moveicon-musicicon mutedicon nomutedicon okicon v-pauseicon v-playicon searchicon shareicon sign inicon sign upicon stepbackicon stepforicon swipe downicon tagicon tagsicon tgicon trashicon twicon vkicon yticon wticon fm

Route of first Russian-Turkish patrol along key de-escalation line shortened to prevent terrorist provocation involving civilians

Russian and Turkish forces in Syria’s province of Idlib have had to shorten their first joint patrol mission aimed at maintaining truce in the area to avoid harming civilians used as human shield by terrorists.

On Sunday, Turkey and Russia set out on their first joint patrol along the security corridor in Idlib, agreed as part of a ceasefire deal reached by presidents Vladimir Putin and Recep Tayyip Erdogan in early March. The route of the patrol went along the strategic M4 highway, which links Syria’s city of Aleppo to the coastal western province of Latakia and passes through the territories held by various militant groups.


Yet, the Russian and the Turkish forces had to make some frantic last-minute changes to the patrol routes. The move was linked to the information about some terrorist groups allegedly planning to attack the patrol and provoke it into some military response, all while using women and children as human shields to stir up tensions in a region which has just seen a major flare-up. Any such incident could lead to a new outbreak of violence and disrupt the agreement aimed at avoiding further bloodshed.

“The Russian-Turkish coordination center decided to shorten the route distance … to avoid any incident that could result in civilian suffering,” the Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement, adding that Turkey was given more time to clear out the extremists and ensure the safety of further joint missions. It remains unclear, so far, what exact modification was made to the patrol route.

Also on rt.com War averted as Russia & Turkey reach deal on Idlib… but is peace on horizon?

The joint missions were agreed by Moscow and Ankara as part of a package of various de-escalation measures in Idlib, after a Syrian Army offensive in the area targeting various extremist and militant groups infuriated Turkey and put the two nations on a brink of a full-blown war with each other. Russia then made diplomatic efforts to ease the tensions and eventually managed to strike a deal with Ankara, following several rounds of uneasy talks.

Earlier this week, Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said that the two sides have largely reached a consensus on Idlib. Turkish forces were expected to patrol areas north of the M4 highway, which have long been controlled by various anti-government forces while the Russian military would carry out patrols to the south of it, closer to the Syrian Army positions.

Think your friends would be interested? Share this story!

Dear readers and commenters,

We have implemented a new engine for our comment section. We hope the transition goes smoothly for all of you. Unfortunately, the comments made before the change have been lost due to a technical problem. We are working on restoring them, and hoping to see you fill up the comment section with new ones. You should still be able to log in to comment using your social-media profiles, but if you signed up under an RT profile before, you are invited to create a new profile with the new commenting system.

Sorry for the inconvenience, and looking forward to your future comments,

RT Team.