Turkish forces launch patrol in Idlib Province, northwest Syria, March 8, 2019


Claims are circulating that Russia has broken its own demilitarized zone with airstrikes near the city of Jisr al-Shughour in northwest Idlib Province.

The strikes come less than a day after Turkey said Moscow and Ankara had started complementary patrols of Idlib to maintain stability.

The head of the White Helmets, Raed Saleh, said one of its members was killed in a “double tap” attack, in which rescuers and others are targeted in a follow-up strike as they respond to the first bomb.

Meanwhile, Assad regime warplanes are reportedly bombing in southeast Idlib Province.


The declaration of Turkish and Russian patrols has quickly been challenged.

After regime troops tried to infiltrate a village in northern Hama Province, rebels attacked a regime checkpoint, claiming that several troops were killed.

Meanwhile, the regime shelled areas in northern Hama and southeastern Idlib Provinces.

Turkey has announced cooperative Turkish and Russian patrols in Idlib Province in northwest Syria, following an escalation of Assad regime shelling on civilian areas and retaliatory attacks by hardline Islamists.

Turkish Defense Hulusi Akar announced the launch on Friday. Turkey’s forces — who have been in the northwest alongside rebels since August 2016 — will patrol in opposition-held areas, and Russian troops will monitor territory occupied by regime militias and their foreign allies.

Turkey and Russia announced a demilitarized zone in September, covering Idlib and northern Hama Provinces. However, Assad regime forces continued shelling of civilian areas in Idlib. They escalated the attacks last month, killing at least 47 people — most of them women and children — in a 10-day period.

Russia had refrained from any criticism of the regime shelling. Instead President Vladimir Putin and Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said “terrorists” must be eliminated.

Syria Daily, March 1: Russia Provides Cover for Assad Regime Attacks on Idlib Civilians
Syria Daily, March 4: Hardline Islamists Attack Regime Forces in Northwest

Akar said that the joint patrols will be an “important step for the continuation of the ceasefire and ensuring stability”.

He said Turkey is not in direct contact with the Assad regime, asserting that Ankara is only holding talks with Russia and occasionally with Iran.