Russia: Euphrates regions normalize in Syria

MOSCOW

The Russian Defense Ministry said on Thursday that the situation in Syrian provinces near the Euphrates River normalized thanks to the implementation of the Russian-Turkish memorandum on Syria.

Economic activities including agriculture resumed and access to humanitarian aid in areas most affected by conflict became possible, senior defense official Mikhail Mizintsev told reporters at a news conference in Moscow.

“Thanks to the agreements between Russia and Turkey, joint patrols are carried out along border areas where the situation is stable,” said Mizintsev, who serves as head of Russia’s National Defense Management Center, the supreme command and control body of the country’s Defense Ministry.

The first joint ground patrols, which were carried out on Nov. 1, took place 40 kilometers (25 miles) east of Ras al-Ayn and 30 km (18.6 miles) west of Qamishli city.

On Thursday, the sixth patrols were carried out in the town of Ayn al-Arab, also known as Kobani, 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 will pull back 30 kilometers (18.6 miles) south of Turkey’s border with Syria, and security forces from Turkey and Russia will mount joint patrols there.

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 Syrian offshoot of the PKK.
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