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Russia Says it Sent Additional Troops to Syria

Russia Says it Sent Additional Troops to Syria

Friday, 25 October, 2019 - 14:00
A convoy of Russian military vehicles drives toward the northeastern Syrian city of Kobane on October 23, 2019. AFP

Russia has sent hundreds of additional troops to Syria to help patrol the country's Turkey-Syria border after a deal between Moscow and Ankara, the Russian Defense Ministry said Friday.

The ministry said about 300 military police have arrived in Syria to patrol the northeastern areas along the border with Turkey and oversee the pullout of Syrian Kurdish fighters from there.

Military cargo planes also airlifted 20 armored vehicles for the mission, it added, Reuters reported.

Russia said Friday the additional battalion of military police dispatched to Syria comes from Chechnya, a Russian region that saw two devastating separatist wars in the late 1990s and the early 2000s, before Moscow regained control.

Troops from Chechnya, known for their fierce warrior spirit, have regularly been sent to Syria on rotation bases in recent years.

The Russian military does not release the total number of its contingent in Syria, and it did not say on Friday how many troops will be involved in the patrol mission on the Turkish border.

According to Reuters, under the Moscow-Ankara deal, Ankara is to keep sole control of a large section in the center of the border area.

Syrian government and Russian military police are to control the rest of the 440-kilometer (273-mile) Syria-Turkey border.

Meanwhile, Pentagon chief Mark Esper said the US is considering sending troops and armored vehicles into the area around the oil fields in northeastern Syria to ensure that ISIS militants don't get access to the oil, enabling them to rebuild.

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