The Russian Defenсe Ministry's centre for Syrian reconciliation has not registered any shelling in Syria's northwestern province of Idlib by militants controlled by Turkey over the past 24 hours, the centre's head, Rear Admiral Oleg Zhuravlev, said on Tuesday during a briefing.

"Over the past 24 hours, no shelling by illegal armed groups, controlled by Turkey, was recorded", Zhuravlev said.

The military added that the Russian army also carried out patrols along fixed routes in the provinces of Aleppo and Hasakah.

On 5 March, Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, agreed on a ceasefire in Idlib, which started at midnight. The sides also agreed to create a security corridor six kilometres (3.7 miles) north and south of the M4 highway in Syria, which connects the provinces of Latakia and Aleppo.

Under the ceasefire agreement, Moscow and Ankara conduct joint patrols along the M4 highway, which is currently controlled by militants.

Militants remain in control of a small pocket of the Idlib province in northwest Syria.

US Continues Operations in Crude Oil-Rich Syrian Regions as Coronavirus Rages

American forces were supposed to withdraw from the Arab Republic back in September-October 2019 according to Trump's orders, but several hundred servicemen stayed in order to "guard" the oil fields in the country's east.

Even as the coronavirus has affected most of the world, including some countries' militaries, US servicemen in the Middle East are apparently carrying on with their regular duties regardless.

According to a recent report by the broadcaster Syria TV, citing local sources, a group of at least 35 US military vehicles travelled from Syria's north-eastern Al Hasakah province to the south - purportedly to the city of Al Shaddadah. The Syrian broadcaster said that the US forces would be finalising the construction of a military base there.

Earlier, on 6 April, a similar column of 35 trucks carrying military equipment was reportedly spotted crossing into Al Hasakah province from Iraq, where the US has been gradually reducing its military presence after a major falling out with the government. Back in January, the Iraqi parliament voted to end the presence of foreign forces in the country after the US Air Force conducted an unauthorised operation to assassinate Iranian General Qasem Soleimani, who was visiting the country on a diplomatic mission.

Is It All About Oil?

While the purpose of the trucks' redeployment to Al Shaddadah has not been officially revealed, Syrian media outlets insist that the American forces are interested in controlling the local oil fields. Their suggestion goes in line with accusations made by Syrian President Bashar Assad, who stated back in 2019 that the US had been stealing Syrian oil and selling it to Turkey.

Washington, in turn, never denied its interest in the Syrian oilfields - these are the reason why, following Trump’s second promise in two years to withdraw troops from Syria, many American servicemen remain in the Arab Republic. President Trump called the move "keeping the oil", with his Defence Secretary Mark Esper elaborating that the crude would be "kept" from ending up in the hands of Daesh* remnants allegedly present in the country after the terrorist group's defeat.

The US never denied involvement in the sale of Syrian oil either, although did not confirm it directly. Washington, however, assured that the revenue from the oil would not end up in its own pockets, but would be used to fund Kurdish fighters controlling the country's east in cooperation with American troops.

Russia, Turkey Hold 4th Joint Patrol of M4 Highway in Idlib - Russian Military

Russia and Turkey held the fourth joint patrol of the M4 highway in the Syrian province of Idlib, the Russian military said Wednesday.

"In accordance with the agreement of presidents of Russia and Turkey dated 5 March, on 15 April, another — the fourth —  Russian-Turkish joint patrol of a stretch of the M4 highway in the Idlib de-escalation zone linking the cities of Aleppo and Latakia took place", the Russian centre for reconciliation of opposing sides said.

Earlier this week, Russian army planes carried out patrols along a fixed route in northern Syria. 

Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, confirmed on 5 March their commitment to the Astana format on Syria, announced a ceasefire in Idlib and agreed upon joint patrols of the strategically important M4 highway, connecting Aleppo and Latakia.

Militants remain in control of a small pocket of the Idlib province in northwest Syria.