The Latest: Joint Turkey-Russia patrols start in Syrian area

BEIRUT (AP) — The Latest on developments in Syria (all times local):

11:30 p.m.

Turkey and Russia have launched their first joint patrol in northeastern Syria as part of a deal that halted a Turkish offensive against Syrian Kurdish fighters who were forced to withdraw from the border area following Ankara’s incursion.

Turkey’s defense ministry tweeted on Friday that the patrols started in al-Darbasiyah region, with Turkish and Russian troops, armored vehicles and drones. The patrols will cover two sections in the west and east of Turkey’s operation zone, with a depth of 10 kilometers, or 6 miles, and exclude the city of Qamishli, according to a ministry statement from Tuesday.

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The Turkish-Russian deal requires Syrian Kurdish fighters to pull back 30 kilometers (19 miles) from the Turkish border, which Russia says has been completed. The joint patrols would determine whether that’s the case and secure the area

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10:40 a.m.

Turkey and Russia are set to begin joint patrols in northeastern Syria under a deal that halted a Turkish offensive against Syrian Kurdish fighters who were forced to withdraw from the border area following Ankara’s incursion.

The patrols will cover two sections, with a depth of 10 kilometers, or 6 miles. Turkish troops and allied Syrian opposition fighters now control the border towns of Tal Abyad, Ras al-Ayn and nearby villages. The deal excludes the city of Qamishli.

Turkey last month invaded northeastern Syria to push out Syrian Kurdish fighters whom it considers terrorists with links to a Kurdish insurgency inside Turkey.

Two ceasefire agreements —brokered by the United States and Russia— require that the Kurdish fighters withdraw 30 kilometers, or about 19 miles, away from the border.

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