Three Russian soldiers were slightly injured during a terror attack in Syria on Wednesday morning, according to the Russian Defence Ministry’s Reconciliation Centre for Syria.
An improvised explosive device (IED) went off at around 5:50 a.m. during the 20th joint patrol of Russian and Turkish troops along the M4 highway in the south of the de-escalation zone in Idlib, the centre said.
The explosion occurred in the path of a motor convoy and damaged a Russian infantry combat vehicle as well as a Turkish armoured vehicle. Several Turkish service personnel were also injured, according to the statement. Meanwhile, Turkey’s Defence Ministry said that no Turkish soldiers were killed in the attack. All injured soldiers have been evacuated; the Russians have been taken to the Hmeimim Air Base, where they have received medical treatment.
Russia and Turkey are currently investigating, in coordination with Syrian special services, whether Idlib militants are behind the attack.
A 12-kilometre-wide security corridor was set up along the M4 highway in early March under an agreement between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, which halted an upsurge in fighting in Idlib between Turkish forces and allied militias, on one side, and the Syrian army, on the other.
As part of that deal, Russia and Turkey have been carrying out joint patrols of the strategic highway, which runs parallel with Turkey’s southern border and connects the provinces of Latakia and Aleppo. The highway crosses through Idlib, where militants retain control of a small pocket of land.
In May of this year, a bomb attack on a Turkish military convoy on the M4 in Idlib killed one soldier, and three Russian troops were injured in a similar attack last December.
Sputnik / Mikhail Alaeddin
South Africa Today – World News – Middle East