Russia sends 300 additional troops to the Syrian-Turkish border
The Russian Defense Ministry announced the arrival of about 300 Russian military police to Syria to help the withdrawal of Kurdish forces from the border with Turkey.
The ministry said in a statement that the new batch was sent from the Republic of Chechnya, and will begin to carry out tasks to help patrol the designated areas.
The statement also said that 20 Russian armored vehicles were also sent as reinforcement to Syria.
Local sources told Al-Jazeera that the Russian military police patrolled a number of vehicles in the area between the cities of Qamishli and Amuda in the Hasaka countryside.
The sources explained that the patrol was launched from the city of Qamishli, accompanied by elements of the internal security forces of the so-called “Syrian Democratic Forces.”
The Russian patrol also toured the city of Darbasiyah in Hasaka countryside, the first of its kind in the region.
Under the deal, reached by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin on Tuesday, Russian military police and Syrian border guards will remove all fighters of the Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) for 30 kilometers from the Turkish border and 440 kilometers by next Tuesday.
Ankara considers the YPG a terrorist group allied to Kurdish guerrillas who have been waging an insurgency in southeast Turkey since 1984.
Turkey launched the “spring of peace” military operation in cooperation with factions of the Syrian armed opposition against the YPG on October 9.
The arrival of Russian military police marks a shift in the regional balance of power just two weeks after US President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw US troops, a move that has been criticized in Washington and elsewhere as a betrayal of Kurdish allies.
She also highlighted the growing security relationship between Russia, the dominant power inside Syria, and NATO member Turkey.
NATO defense ministers are expected to discuss the situation in Syria during their meeting on Friday in Brussels.