Turkish and Russian troops began joint patrols on a key highway in northwestern Syria on Sunday, Turkey's defence ministry has said.

Iran Press/Middle East: Russia and Turkey have begun jointly patrolling the strategic M4 highway in Syria's embattled northwestern province of Idlib as part of a ceasefire reached earlier this month.

The patrols began from the settlement of Tronba in Idlib, the last terrorist stronghold in the country, on Sunday 15 March.

According to the Russian media, Moscow sent military police and armored vehicles to the patrol. Turkey also dispatched a new military convoy to the region.

On March 5, Russia and Turkey, which support opposite sides in the Syrian conflict, came to an agreement on a ceasefire regime in Idlib, where Turkish aggression had risked the breakout of war.

According to the agreement, joint Russian-Turkish patrols will secure a six-kilometer-wide corridor along the M4 highway connecting the two government-held provinces of Latakia and Aleppo.

Patrols on the highway known as the M4, which runs east/west through Idlib province, are part of a ceasefire agreement signed earlier this month between Turkey and Russia.

The vital highway, which runs through northern Syria from the Mediterranean to the Iraqi border, has been partially closed since 2012.

Some sections of the M4 remain under rebel control, unlike the north/south M5 highway, which Syrian forces completely recaptured in the latest offensive.

During the last weeks, the Syrian army has managed to liberate several areas and villages in the south and east of Idlib province. The province of Idlib is the last base of terrorists in Syria.

Syrian Army has reclaimed significant territory since launching a stepped-up offensive in December, including areas around some of the Turkish military posts in Idlib. 

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