Russia reinforces Syrian area where Turkey-backed fighters clashed with Kurdish forces

Russian and Syrian national flags flutter on military vehicles near Manbij, Syria, Oct. 15, 2019. (Reuters)

SULAIMANI (ESTA) — Russia has sent more military police to an area in northern Syria where Turkey-backed rebel fighters have clashed with Kurdish forces near a strategic highway patrolled by Russian and Turkish troops, according to Russian defense ministry.

In a statement late on Sunday, the Russian defense ministry said it had noted “unstable situation” in Ain Issa area in northern Syria.

Battles between Turkey-backed fighters and Kurdish forces broke out near the town of Ain Issa earlier this month. The town sits along the M4 highway that links major Syrian cities and where Russian-Turkish patrols usually take place.

“Earlier, during negotiations with the Turkish side, agreements were reached on the deployment of joint Russian-Syrian observation posts. Additional units of the Russian military police have arrived in the Ain Issa area today [Sunday] to step up efforts to stabilize the situation,” it said.

Deputy head of the Russian defense ministry’s center for Syrian reconciliation Vyacheslav Sytnik called on both sides to stop shelling each other and to de-escalate.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu will hold talks in southern Russia on Tuesday, Reuters reported.

Syria, where Moscow and Ankara have backed different sides, is one of the topics the two diplomats will discuss, according to Reuters.

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