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Three Russian soldiers injured in anti-tank missile attack in Syria’s Idlib

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
In this file picture, Russian military police take part in a joint army patrol with Turkish forces near the town of Darbasiyah in Syria’s northeastern province of Hasakah. (Photo by AFP)

At least three Russian troops have sustained injuries when the armored vehicle they were traveling in was struck by an anti-tank missile in the de-escalation zone of Syria’s northwestern province of Idlib.

Rear Admiral Vyacheslav Sytnik, the chief of the Russian military’s Reconciliation Center in Syria, said the attack happened on Tuesday afternoon while the Russian troops were on patrol near the town of Trumba in the southeastern part of Idlib de-escalation zone as Turkish troops were pulling out of the area.

“An anti-tank guided missile was fired at a BTR-82A armored personnel carrier from the territory controlled by pro-Turkish militant groups. Three Russian servicemen were slightly injured. The condition of the servicemen is not life-threatening,” Sytnik said.

Sytnik noted that “the command of the Russian forces in Syria, in cooperation with Turkish servicemen and Syrian security agencies, is investigating the incident.”

The Russian military assistance, which comes at the official request of the Syrian government, has effectively helped the national army recapture key areas from foreign-backed militant groups.

The Russian Air Force has been providing air cover to Syria’s liberation operations on the ground.

Moscow’s contingent of ground forces in Syria is comprised of military police tasked with delivering humanitarian aid, helping Syrian armed forces deal with terrorists, and preventing clashes between government troops and Turkish forces illegally deployed to the Arab country’s north.

Turkish forces withdraw from last observation point encircled by Syrian army

Also on Tuesday, Turkish forces completely withdrew from their last observation point on the outskirts of the northwestern Syrian city of Aleppo.

The Arabic service of Russia’s Sputnik news agency reported that Turkish military vehicles and trucks carrying logistical equipment, prefabricated buildings and concrete beams had left the point near al-Eis town.

The Turkish convoy drove along the main highway between Aleppo and the capital Damascus, and headed towards areas controlled by Turkish-backed militants.

Turkey recently began evacuating its observation posts in the region in the wake of clashes between the Syrian army and militants controlling the highway that connects Aleppo and Latakia provinces.

Turkish strikes target Kurdish YPG militants in northern Syria

Separately, Turkish military forces have struck the positions of Kurdish militants from the so-called Peoples Protection Units (YPG) on the outskirts of the town of Ayn Issa.

The Turkish-language Hurriyet daily newspaper, citing security sources, reported that Turkey’s unmanned aerial vehicles discovered during their reconnaissance and surveillance operations that the terrorists were trying to infiltrate the Peace Spring region to carry out an attack.

The report added that Turkish T-155 Firtina (Storm) howitzers then took the region under heavy fire and hit the escape routes of the militants.

Afterwards, Turkish military commandos intervened and launched an operation in the area, killing nearly 20 YPG militants in the process.

The deployment came as Russia says it is reinforcing the area near the town of Ayn Issa, which sits on the M4 highway that links major Syrian cities, where Turkish-backed militants have clashed with Kurdish YPG forces.

The Russian Defense Ministry said it had sent more military police to the area on Sunday.

Moscow, whose military aircraft also patrol the area, called on both sides to stop shelling each other and de-escalate.

Turkey views the US-backed YPG as a terrorist organization tied to the homegrown Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has been seeking an autonomous Kurdish region in Turkey since 1984.

On October 9, 2019, Turkey launched a cross-border invasion of northeastern Syria in an attempt to push Kurdish militants affiliated with the YPG away from its borders.

Two weeks later, Russia and Turkey signed a memorandum of understanding that forced the YPG militants to withdraw from the Turkish-controlled “safe zone” in northeastern Syria, after which Ankara and Moscow began joint patrols around the area.

Turkey has since wrested control of several areas in northern Syria in addition to other Kurdish-controlled areas.

Damascus views the Turkish military presence on Syrian soil as an attack on the Arab country's sovereignty.

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