On February 11, the Russian Military Police and the Turkish Armed Forces conducted a joint exercise in the northwestern Syrian region of Greater Idlib.
During the exercise, Russian and Turkish service members trained on moving in a single convoy, repelling an attack on it as well as conducting an emergency evacuation. The service members communicated with each other with a special system of signals based on the lights of their vehicles.
A representative of the Turkish Armed Forces told the Russian Zvezda TV that the exercise is important to maintain the successful joint work in Greater Idlib.
“I know that everyone here is experienced, but it is important for us to achieve the best coordination,” the representative said.
The joint exercise is the first this year. In 2020, Russian and Turkish forces held a series of joint exercises to improve coordination and cooperation. Back then, the two sides were conducting joint patrols on the Lattakia-Aleppo highway, the M4.
Last August, Russian forces halted their participation in the M4 patrols, citing Turkey’s failure to secure the highway as the main reason.
The joint patrols were carried out in accordance with the Russian-Turkish agreement that was reached on March 5 of 2020. The agreement, which is yet to be implemented, is meant to stabilize Idlib and reopen the M4 highway.
The new exercise was likely organized in preparation for the return of joint Russian-Turkish patrols on the M4. Such a step would reflect Moscow’s and Anakra’s commitment to the March 5 agreement.
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