On October 29, a patrol of the Russian Military Police came under a mortar fire near the border village of Darbasiyah. The village is located just east of the Turkish-controlled town of Ras al-Ayn. The Russians were there to discuss with their Turkish counterparts the start of joint border patrols, which had been agreed in the framework of the Russia-Turkey ‘de-escalation zone’ deal on northeastern Syria.
Initial reports suggested that at least two Russian military personnel were injured in the attack. However, later, they were denied. Turkish-backed forces claimed that they did not fire at the Russians and pointed out that the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces may be interested in such an incident.
On October 28, Russian and Turkish military officials met in Ankara to discuss the implementation of the de-escalation zone agreement and lay down a plan for further joint actions in the region.
Units of the Syrian Army continued deployment along the Turkish border in a 90km-wide area from the eastern countryside of Ras al-Ayn to the city of al-Qamishly in northeastern Syria. According to Syria’s SANA, government forces entered at least 20 settlements in the area.
The Syrian Army is currently working to reinforce its positions along the entire border area west and east of Turkey’s Operation Peace Spring on the eastern bank of the Euphrates.
On October 28, Syria and Russia opened a floating bridge linking the two banks of Euphrates River in the province of Der Ezzor. The bridge links the towns of al-Mre’eyeh and Mrat. It was constructed thanks to assistance from and under protection of Russian forces.
Deir Ezzor governor Abdul Majid al-Kawakibi said that the bridge was constructed “in response to the needs and demands of the people in the governorate northern countryside”. The bridge will allow them “to communicate with the rest of governorate areas”.
Earlier, the US-led coalition destroyed all the bridges in the area. A part of them was destroyed in the framework of the coalition’s campaign against ISIS. Later, the destruction of the infrastructure was a tool of cutting off links between people in the US-controlled and government-controlled areas.
On October 28, US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper once again warned that the US is not going to abandon oil fields on the eastern bank of the river. According to him, the US will respond with “overwhelming force” to any group that would threaten the safety of US forces there.