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Russian, Turkish troops conduct joint drills in Syria’s Idlib

No patrol missions have been conducted in this area for more than six moths

SARAQIB /Syria/, February 11. /TASS/. Russian and Turkish servicemen have conducted drills in Syria’s city of Saraqib ahead of joint patrol missions in Idlib, a spokesman for the Turkish army command said on Thursday.

"We need to once again drill all necessary skills. I know that these are all experience people but it is important to ensure maximal coordination," he said.

No patrol missions have been conducted in this area for more than six moths, so, according to the spokesman, these drills are seen as a guarantee of success of joint efforts.

Idlib is the only Syrian region where the ceasefire is violated regularly. Joint Russian-Turkish patrol missions were suspended here six months ago.

During the exercises, Russian and Turkish servicemen drilled the skills of moving in convoys, repelling attacks on convoys and evacuating those wounded, as well as moving along sections with militants’ ambushes. A special signal system has been designed to help bridge the language gap.

Patrol missions as a rule involve Russian BTR-82A armored infantry carriers and Tigr armored cars, and Turkish Kirpi armored vehicles.

Well-armed convoys are not an easy target for militants even in troubled Idlib. However attacks on military convoys were staged from time to time. That is why drills after a long break are necessary.

On October 22, 2019, Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan met in Russia’s Sochi to agree a ten-provision memorandum on joint operations to control the situation in northeastern Syria. Under the arrangement, Russian military police and Syrian forces were deployed in areas bordering the Turkish security zone. Russian and Turkish servicemen began joint patrol missions east of the Euphrates from November 1, 2019.

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