BEIRUT, LEBANON (9:00 P.M.) – The Turkish Ministry of Defense announced that one of its soldiers was killed in an explosion while conducting a patrol to monitor the Aleppo-Latakia Highway (M-4) in the Idlib Governorate of northwestern Syria.

The ministry said, in a statement reported by Turkish media, on Wednesday: “The killing of a Turkish soldier in an explosion whose cause is unknown, while running a patrol to monitor the road in the Idlib province of Syria.”

According to a source in northwestern Syria: “A Turkish soldier was killed and five armed fighters were wounded by an explosive device on the highway in Idlib.”

Russia and Turkey agreed to conduct joint patrols on the M-4 Highway against the backdrop of the escalation in Idlib between Turkey and the armed factions it controls on the one hand, and the Syrian government forces on the other.

It is reported that, following the talks between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Sochi on September 17, 2018, the defense ministers of the two countries signed a memorandum on stabilizing the situation in the de-escalation zone in Idlib.

Last March in Moscow, talks were held between the two presidents, Vladimir Putin and Recep Tayyip Erdogan, which focused on settlement issues in Syria, chief among them are ways to find a solution to the current crisis in the de-escalation zone in Idlib.

A cease-fire was agreed upon as of the night of March 5, and among the terms of the agreement was the start of joint patrols between the Russians and the Turks on the international road in Syria (the Latakia-Aleppo road) on March 15.

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