Russia, Turkey abandon second military patrol in Syria's Idlib

Russian and Turkish troops cut short their second joint patrol along the M4 east-west highway in Syria's Idlib province on Monday due to security concerns, Reuters said, citing a Russian Defence Ministry statement.

Russia and Turkey were forced to cut short their first joint patrol in the region on March 16 after hundreds of people blocked the road and then climbed on top of the patrolling armoured vehicles.

Russia said at the time the patrol was interrupted by “rebel provocations”.

The joint patrols are part of the ceasefire agreement made on March 5 by Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to end fighting in Idlib between Turkish-backed rebel forces and the Syrian military, which is backed by Russia. 

The deal aims to establish a security corridor stretching around 6 km (4 miles) north and south of the west M4 highway that connects Latakia and Saraqib.