Russian Defence ministry has dismissed reports of its military police being shelled at the Al-Darbasiyah Syrian-Turkish border crossing. At the same time, the ministry reported that an explosive device went off near one of the police's armoured vehicles stationed at the crossing when they were preparing to meet with representatives of Turkey.
A spokesman for the ministry clarified that no military police were hurt in the explosion, nor were any vehicles damaged. He added that the meeting with the Turkish side went as planned despite the incident.
A Russian military police contingent has been deployed near Syrian-Turkish border in accordance with the provisions of a memorandum that was signed by Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Sochi on 22 October. The two sides agreed that Moscow would deploy military police, along with Damascus sending its border guards, to the region in order to ensure the withdrawal of Kurdish YPG forces, which Turkey has previously demanded.
In addition, Turkey and Russia vowed to organise joint patrols of a 10-kilometre wide zone to the east and west of Ankara’s recent military operation in Syria. In turn, Turkey halted its military operation, which targeted Syrian Kurds, stressing that it is currently no longer needed.
Ankara launched "Operation Peace Spring" on 9 October targeting mostly Kurdish forces in northern Syria to the east of the Euphrates. Turkey believes that the Kurdish-led SDF and YPG, controlling these areas, are branches of the PKK - an organisation deemed terrorist by Ankara.