On March 15, Russian war correspondent Eugene Poddubny published a photo and a video showing a unit of the Russian Military Police prepared for a joint patrol along the M4 highway in southern Idlib. According to Poddubny, the unit is now deployed in the northern vicinity of Saraqib and waiting Turkish forces to start the patrol.
Earlier this week, the Turkish foreign ministry claimed that the first patrol will cover the entire agreed buffer zone – from west of Saraqib to the eastern vicinity of Jisr al-Shughur. However, this scenario remains highly unlikely because Jisr al-Shughur is a stronghold of the al-Qaeda-linked Turkistan Islamic Party. So, these ‘moderate rebels’ will be not happy to see the Russians there. Furthermore as of March 14 evening, the M4 highway was blocked by opposition supporters that oppose the Russian-Turkish patrols. Therefore, if the patrol happens, it will likely cover a limited area.
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