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Turkish-Russian Joint Patrols to Start Friday

Turkish-Russian Joint Patrols to Start Friday

Wednesday, 30 October, 2019 - 13:30
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, left, and Russian President Vladimir Putin give a joint news conference after their talks in the Bocharov Ruchei residence in the Black Sea resort of Sochi, Russia, Tuesday, Oct. 22, 2019. AP

Joint Turkish-Russian patrols will begin on Friday in northeastern Syria, following a Russian-brokered cease-fire that promised to have Syrian Kurdish forces withdraw to the south, Turkey's president said Wednesday.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan told his ruling party that Turkey won't hesitate to relaunch its operation if the Kurdish fighters do not abandon the 30-kilometer-wide area (about 19 miles wide) or continue their attacks against Turkish troops, the Associated Press (AP) reported.

He added that Turkey will "respond in the harshest way to any attacks" and that "if needed, we will expand our safe zone."

Turkey invaded northeastern Syria earlier this month to push Syrian Kurdish fighters from the area.

Ankara considers them terrorists linked to an insurgency in Turkey.

According to AP, the cease-fire to allow the Syrian Kurdish forces to withdraw has largely held, despite occasional clashes.

Meanwhile, in Geneva, delegations from Syria's regime, opposition and civil society gathered for the first time Wednesday to discuss the country's constitution, billed by a UN mediator as a "momentous" task that could help their country emerge from nearly nine years of war.

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