The Turkish military is preparing to repair and fortify the M4 highway in Syria’s Greater Idlib, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) reported on March 29.
According to the UK-based monitoring group, a convoy consisting of 15 vehicles, carrying engineering equipment and construction materials, has entered the northwestern region.
“Logistical preparations are being made to repair the road, remove the remnants of war and anything that could threats joint Russian-Turkish patrols in a short period that will not exceed the first half of this year,” the SOHR’s report reads.
On March 5, Russia and Turkey agreed to conduct joint patrols on the M4 highway, which links the port city of Lattakia with Aleppo city.
The highway is currently blocked by opposition supporters and radical militants that are working to sabotage the Russian-Turkish agreement. These “protesters” have already foiled two attempts by Russian and Turkish forces to patrol the highway.
After failing to open the M4 for Russian forces, Turkish forces conducted at least nine patrols along the highway on their own.
The SOHR’s report suggests that Turkey is willing to honor its agreement with Russia. However, Ankara’s recent military movements in Greater Idlib, including the deployment of air-defense systems and the formation of a commando force there, indicate that a new confrontation is the most likely outcome.
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