Turkey and Russia may come to agreement in coming days on setting up observation posts in Syria, Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said in an interview with the Qatari Al Jazeera TV Channel on Saturday.
“I believe that the [joint Russian-Turkish] patrols will be even more successful and useful in coming days,” the Anadolu news agency quoted the defense minister as saying.
“We continue taking efforts for establishing full ceasefire so that people in the region can return to normal and calm life. In this regard, we are carrying our necessary coordination with Russia in the specific areas [of Syria]. In addition to Turkish-Russian patrols, talks are underway with Russia on creating several observation posts and certainty on this issue will appear in coming days,” he said.
On October 9, Turkey launched a military incursion into northern Syria, codenaming it Operation Peace Spring, with the Turkish Armed Forces and the Ankara-backed Free Syrian Army carrying it out.
The Erdogan government claimed that its goal is to clear the border area of what it calls ‘terrorists’ (Turkey’s broad label of the Kurdish forces) and establish a 30 km-long buffer zone in Syria’s north, where over 3 million Syrian refugees in Turkey would resettle. Ankara’s incursion into Syria has triggered an outcry in the region and across the world. Damascus has slammed Turkey’s military operation as an act of aggression.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on October 22 that Ankara was considering setting up 12 observation posts east of the Euphrates.
On October 22, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Erdogan signed a memorandum on joint actions in northeastern Syria.
According to the document, as of noon October 23, Russian military police and Syrian border guards started to monitor the withdrawal of Kurdish military formations to the depth of 30 km from the border. The Kurds had completed their pullout by October 29 and Russia and Turkey launched joint military patrols east of the Euphrates from November 1.
On October 23, the NTV channel reported citing a source in defense circles that the Turkish command was revising its plans to deploy its observation posts in northern Syria.