24 Oct 2019 10:42

Another military police battalion may join Russian contingent in Syria - media

MOSCOW. Oct 24 (Interfax) - Russia may dispatch one more military police battalion and light armored hardware to Syria as part of Russian-Turkish agreements, the newspaper Vedomosti said on Thursday, citing a source close to the Russian Defense Ministry.

"The Russian military police forces [currently] present in Syria are sufficient for patrolling these districts. [...] However, there are no obstacles to sending another military police battalion to Syria, should such a need arise," the source said.

Russian military police units began moving toward the Syrian-Turkish border under a memorandum adopted after talks between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in the Russian Black Sea resort of Sochi on October 22.

According to the Russian Defense Ministry, Russian military police will carry out patrols, maintain order and facilitate the withdrawal of Kurdish self-defense units and their weapons to beyond 30 kilometers from the Syrian-Turkish border.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said after the Russian and Turkish leaders' talks that Turkey's military operation in northeast Syria was over.

Vedomosti's diplomatic source said that "Russian military police have been assigned a key role in implementing the Putin-Erdogan agreements: it is [Russian military police] that will have to act as a buffer between Syrian and Turkish forces, because leaving them face to face would be fraught with the most serious implications."

"Defense Minister of Russia Sergei Shoigu said on Tuesday that in order to fulfill this task, it will be necessary to dispatch additional hardware to Syria. A source close to the Defense Ministry of Russia said that it would be light armored hardware and unmanned aerial vehicles," the newspaper said.