30 Dec 2019 10:46

Militants stop attacking strategic M4 route in northern Syria - govt forces

AL-HASAKAH (Syria). Dec 30 (Interfax) - Terrorist fighters have stopped attacking the strategic M4 route in northern Syria, government forces said in a statement on Monday.

The M4 highway, which connects the al-Hasakah and Aleppo provinces, opened for traffic on December 11, 2019. On that day, commanders of the Russian contingent in Syria and coordination center head, Turkish division general Erhan Uzun traveled along the M4 from Ayn Issa to Tell Tamera in furtherance of the memorandum of mutual understanding signed by Russia and Turkey on October 22.

Syria and Turkey placed 20 checkpoints each on the M4 route. Each checkpoint is manned by 20 fully-armed servicemen. The Russian military patrols the route on a daily basis. Mil Mi-8 helicopters fly over the route, as well. They are protected by a Pantsir-S air defense missile and artillery system, which can destroy cruise missiles, planes, helicopters, and drones.

"A number of violations were observed after the deployment of the checkpoints: there were mostly improvised explosive devices planted along the route, and terrorist attacks on our roadblocks. The number of violations significantly reduced after Syrian soldiers took control of the route with the assistance of Russian servicemen; we appreciate Russia's help," Syrian army Col. Hassan Ali Ibrahim told journalists at the Guzalia checkpoint.

The presidents of Russia and Turkey, Vladimir Putin and Recep Tayyip Erdogan, signed a memorandum in Sochi on October 22 to promote a settlement in northeastern Syria. Consistent with the memorandum, Russian military police and Syrian border guards were deployed to the areas bordering Turkey's 30-kilometer security zone at noon on October 23. Joint Russian-Turkish patrols were launched on the eastern bank of the Euphrates River on November 1.