Three Russian military police officers have sustained slight injuries when an explosion targeted their armored vehicle in Syria’s northwestern province of Aleppo, as Russian and Turkish troops were conducting a new joint ground patrol under a deal that stipulates the withdrawal of Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) militants from a “safe zone” along Syria’s border with Turkey.
Russia’s Defense Ministry said in a statement on Monday that an improvised explosive device went off when the Russian armored police vehicle was carrying out a reconnaissance mission some 1.5 kilometers (0.93 miles) west of Koran town in Kobani, also known as Ayn al-Arab, district of the province.
The statement added that three servicemen onboard the vehicle sustained minor non-life-threatening injuries at the time of the explosion. There was some damage to the vehicle as well.
On October 9, Turkish military forces and Ankara-backed militants launched a long-threatened cross-border invasion of northeastern Syria in a declared attempt to push YPG militants away from border areas.
Ankara 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 22, Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan signed a memorandum of understanding that asserted YPG militants had to withdraw from the Turkish-controlled “safe zone” in northeastern Syria within 150 hours, after which Ankara and Moscow would run joint patrols around the area.
The announcement was made hours before a US-brokered five-day truce between Turkish and Kurdish-led forces was due to expire.
Meanwhile, Syrian air defense forces have managed to foil an attack by foreign-sponsored Takfiri militants against Hama Military Airport.
Syria’s official news agency SANA reported that government anti-aircraft defense systems intercepted an unmanned aerial vehicle as it was about to strike the airport on Sunday evening. No casualties were reported.
On May 22, Syrian government forces reportedly shot down an armed drone launched by militants near the Hama airport.
Syrian state-run TV said then that the drone was launched by members of the Jabhat Fateh al-Sham, formerly known as al-Nusra Front, Takfiri terrorist group. There were no reports of people hurt.
Shortly before the attack on the airport, a similar drone attack was carried out against the al-Zare power plant south of Hama, where Syrian army soldiers has been fighting the militants.