By Gozde Bayar
ANKARA (AA) – Turkish and Russian troops carried out a fifth round of joint ground patrols in northern Syria under a deal reached last month, in an area of a Turkish anti-terror operation, said Turkey’s National Defense Ministry on Tuesday.
“The fifth Turkish-Russian joint land patrol conducted in the Ayn al-Arab region east of the Euphrates is continuing with due care and diligence for the safety of both civilians and our military personnel despite provocation by terrorists,” the ministry said on Twitter.
The first joint ground patrols, on Nov. 1, took place 40 kilometers (25 miles) east of Ras al-Ayn and 30 km (18.6 mi) west of the city of Qamishli.
This Monday, the fourth patrols were carried out in the town of Darbasiyah, east of the Euphrates River.
Turkey on Oct. 9 launched Operation Peace Spring to eliminate YPG/PKK terrorists from northern Syria in order to secure Turkey’s borders, aid in the safe return of Syrian refugees, and ensure Syria’s territorial integrity.
Ankara wants YPG/PKK terrorists to withdraw from the region so that a safe zone can be created to pave the way for the safe return of some 2 million refugees.
On Oct. 22, Ankara and Moscow reached a deal under which YPG/PKK terrorists would pull back 30 kilometers (18.6 miles) south of Turkey’s border with Syria, and security forces from Turkey and Russia would mount joint patrols there.
But the YPG/PKK has continued to carry out attacks in the area, as decried by Turkish officials.
In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK — listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the European Union — has been responsible for the deaths of 40,000 people, including women, children and infants. The YPG is the PKK's Syrian offshoot.