Several troops were reported injured by the Russian defence ministry after a joint military patrol was hit by an improvised explosive device near Ariha town of Idlib.

An aerial picture shows Syrians gathering at the site of an improvised explosive device which hit a joint Turkish-Russian patrol near the Syrian town of Ariha in opposition-held northwestern Idlib province on July 14, 2020.
An aerial picture shows Syrians gathering at the site of an improvised explosive device which hit a joint Turkish-Russian patrol near the Syrian town of Ariha in opposition-held northwestern Idlib province on July 14, 2020. (AFP)

A roadside bomb detonated near a joint Russian-Turkish patrol in northwestern Syria on Tuesday morning, injuring three Russian soldiers.

Troops were carrying out their 21st joint patrol near Ariha town in the Idlib ceasefire zone when their vehicles were targeted by a roadside explosive at 0550 GMT on Tuesday.

The Russian Defence Ministry said three of their troops were injured and two armoured personnel carriers were damaged.

Turkey's defence ministry confirmed the damage to the vehicles and said there was no loss of life.

READ MORE: Turkish president holds meeting on next steps in Syria's Idlib

Russian jets that flew at high altitude conducted a series of bombing raids on several opposition-held areas in retaliation for the attack, according to residents and a network of plane spotters who document sightings of jet fighters.

Civil defence groups said five civilians were injured in the strikes.

Hundreds of civilians fled, fearing a wider resumption of the Russian-led air strikes that had displaced over a million people before the ceasefire, witnesses said.

Russia was evacuating its equipment from the area and moving its troops to the Khmeimim air base where some of them would receive treatment, the Russian statement said.

YPG, the PKK's Syrian offshoot

The terror group was not named, but the YPG has been active in the region.

The YPG is the Syrian offshoot of the PKK terrorist organisation. 

In its 30-year terror campaign against the Turkish state, more than 40,000 people, including women and children, have been killed.

Turkey, the US and the EU recognise the PKK as a terrorist organisation.

Turkey and Russia, which back opposing sides in Syria's war, agreed in March on a ceasefire and joint patrols.

The March deal urged parties to "cease all military actions along the line of contact” in the de-escalation area in Idlib, an embattled Syrian rebel and opposition-held province just south of Turkey’s border.

The protocol said joint Turkish-Russian patrols would begin on March 15 along the M4 highway in Idlib, aimed at stopping heavy fighting in and around the last major bastion of anti-regime forces in Syria's civil war.

Idlib has long been under siege by Assad regime forces and its allies, and previous ceasefires for the region were plagued by violations.

Turkey has worked to protect the local civilian population as well as rid the wider region of terrorist elements.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies