Assad’s forces have expanded their deployment in Hassakeh province, in accordance with the deal signed last month with the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) to implement the Sochi agreement, which stipulated that the Syrian border guard would deploy on the northern Syrian border.
The official SANA news agency said on Tuesday that Assad’s forces had deployed on the border with Turkey from Qamishli in the west to al-Malakiyeh to the east, along 60 kilometers, and set up positions in the area.
The agency added that the deployment operations have recently included the towns of al-Qahtaniyeh and al-Jawadiyeh and the villages and towns of Deir Ghassan, Atbeh, Tel al-Hasnat, Tel al-Sayd, Mulla Abbas, Kardeem Foqani, Tel Jihan, and Tel Kharnoub.
The pro-regime Al-Watan newspaper said that the forces had carried out a broad deployment along the Turkish-Syrian border between the city of Qamishli and city of al-Malakiyeh.
It added that during the operation, Assad’s forces entered oil fields in the oil-rich Rumailan area, which had been out of its control for seven years.
American forces had entered the oil region in the Rumailan area over the last two days and journalists from eastern Syria published videos on Facebook showing American APCs and soldiers stationed near one of the oil fields.
The deployment of Assad’s forces in eastern Syria coincides with clashes in which the National Army rebel group is trying to secure the city of Ras al-Ayn from the south.
On Tuesday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said in a press conference that the Russian and Turkish armies were continuing work to implement the Sochi deal agreed between them, adding that the People’s Protection Units (YPG) had withdrawn to a depth of 30 kilometers along the border strip in northeastern Syria.
Lavrov added that the agreement reached by Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan last month regarding northern Syria was in effect, with joint patrols being run in a 10 kilometer area near the Turkish border with Syria, according to the Russian TASS news agency.
Lavrov was commenting on Erdogan’s statements in which he said YPG fighters had not withdrawn from areas in northern Syria, denying the Russian claims they had withdrawn from the areas agreed upon in Sochi.
During his speech to members of the Justice and Development Party in Ankara, the Turkish president said that: “Russia claims that the terrorist groups have withdrawn from areas in northern Syria, and this is not true.” He added, “We will continue our military operations in Syria until the safe zone is established and Syrian refugees can return to to their areas.”
This article was edited by The Syrian Observer. The Syrian Observer has not verified the content of this story. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.