News Briefs – November 4, 2019

Joint Turkish and Russian patrols begin in Syrian region

Turkey and Russia launched joint patrols Nov. 1 in northeastern Syria, under a deal that halted a Turkish offensive against Syrian Kurdish fighters who were forced to withdraw from the border area following Ankara’s incursion.
The Turkish Defense Ministry said an initial patrol covered an area 54 miles long and 6 miles deep in the al-Darbasiyah region, assisted by drones. “The first joint patrol was completed as planned,” the statement said.
The Russian Defense Ministry said the joint patrol included nine military vehicles, including a Russian armored personnel carrier.
Turkey and Russia have agreed the patrols would cover two sections, in the west and east of Turkey’s operation zone in Syria. Turkish troops and allied Syrian opposition fighters now control the border towns of Tal Abyad, Ras al-Ayn and nearby villages. The deal on the patrols excludes the city of Qamishli, according to the ministry’s statement on Tuesday.
The first joint patrol did not fly Russian and Turkish flags on their armored vehicles Nov. 1 but once the patrol was completed, Russian flags were seen. AP

Yemeni rebels claim they shot down a U.S.-made drone

Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthi rebels shot down a U.S.-made drone Nov. 1 along the border with Saudi Arabia, according to a statement by the group’s spokesman.
The Shiite rebels, who overran Yemen’s northern parts and the capital Sanaa in 2014, have been fighting a Saudi-led and U.S.-backed military coalition since 2015. In recent months, they have shot down at least two American drones.
Houthi spokesman Brig. Gen. Yehia Sarea tweeted that a spy aircraft known as ScanEagle was conducting “espionage and hostile operations” near the southern Saudi province of Asir when the rebels brought it down.
However, he did not provide any photographs or video footage to corroborate the claim.
The ScanEagle is a reconnaissance drone launched by a catapult that costs over $3 million and can fly for more than 20 hours, according the U.S. Air Force. The Saudi-led military coalition wasn’t immediately known to operate this type of U.S.-made drone. AP