Turkey uses joint Syria patrols to spy on Kurdish fighters - Russian daily

Turkey has been using joint patrols with Russia in northern Syria to gather information on Kurdish militia in the area for attacks to be launched later, Russian daily Nezavisimaya Gazeta reported on Wednesday citing a military expert.

The joint patrols in north Syria started this month after Turkey and Russia agreed on a deal for the withdrawal of Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) 30 km south from territories along the Turkish-Syrian border. 

"All Turkish troops deployed to the safe zone in northern Syria have been trained not so much to perform police functions, but rather to conduct warfare," Russian state news agency TASS quoted military expert Colonel Shamil Gareyev as saying to Nezavisimaya Gazeta. 

"Every day, they conduct aerial reconnaissance of the area, and the joint patrols help them obtain information on the positions of Kurdish guerrillas and the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), so as to later launch attacks on them,” Gareyev.

Both Turkey and Syrian Kurdish forces have repeatedly accused each other of failing to adhere to the truce, announced to facilitate the withdrawal.

Turkey sees the YPG as an offshoot of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), an armed group that has been fighting inside Turkey since 1984. 

The SDF, led by the YPG, forms the backbone of U.S.-led coalition forces fighting against the Islamic State in Syria.