A joint Russian-Turkish vehicle patrol in northwest Syria’s Idlib Province was hit with a massive improvised explosive device (IED) on Tuesday morning at 0850 hours local time. Three Russian troops and several Turks were injured in the blast. Both Russian and Turkish vehicles were damaged in the attack. 

Although the Russians and Turks support opposing sides in the ongoing decade-long Syrian civil war, they conduct joint patrols along the strategically important M4 highway. The patrols are part of a ceasefire agreement in an attempt to deescalate the violence in the region.

The director of the U.K.-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), Rami Abdel Rahman reported that “numerous explosions were heard as the patrol passed in a village northeast of the town of Ariha.”

However, a video posted on Twitter appears to show only one large explosion. 


SOHR reported that the jihadists attacked “despite Turkish forces having heavily combed the area 24 hours before the joint patrol set off on the road separating areas controlled by the rebels from those held by government forces, according to the ceasefire.”

Jihadists have been able to block parts of the patrolled area. They have also mobilized local support to protest the patrols in certain areas, according to SOHR. Yet, there had not been an attack like this before. SOHR added that the section from the village of Tarbana in east Idlib province to the village of Ain Hawr in the north of Latakia province has been effectively blocked.

The Syrian government’s offensive, backed by massive Russian airstrikes, had displaced nearly a million people between December and March. Nevertheless, as a result of the ceasefire, many civilians have been moving back into the area.