Turkey and Russia start joint patrols in Syria’s Idlib – Ankara

The Turkish and Russian militaries are beginning joint patrols in Syria’s northwestern Idlib region, Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said on Friday. “Today Russia will begin patrols in the border area outside of Idlib in the border region while Turkish armed forces’ patrols will begin in the demilitarized zone,” the official stated, as cited by Anadolu news agency. Patrols are to be held under a September 2018 deal, in which Russia and Turkey agreed to establish a demilitarized zone between the Syrian Army and the rebels to protect civilians in heavily populated areas. Idlib is the last major region in Syria held by rebels fighting against President Bashar Assad’s government. The province is largely controlled by Hay’et Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) – a rebel group that was previously linked to Al-Qaeda.