Russia Continues Training, Efforts to Bring SDF Closer to Syrian Army

As a Turkish operation in Northeast Syria against the SDF looms, Russia is trying to get the regime and the SDF to cooperate more, according to Athr Press.

Russia continues to conduct many military exercises with its helicopter and jets in areas and confrontation zones between the Syrian army and SDF positions on the one hand and Turkish forces and their allies on the other. These areas are in rural Hassakeh, Raqqa, and Aleppo, which are witnessing a state of military alert and imminent threats of direct clashes.

Sources in the field told Athr Press that the Russian army’s military combat helicopters have been conducting intensive exercises since last Sunday. The exercises have taken place in the Tell Tamer area, northwest of Hassakeh, in Tal Abyad, north of Raqqa, in al-Bab and Tadef — both in rural Aleppo. Exercises are expected to continue for several more days.

The sources said that the Russian military exercises are part of Moscow’s efforts to maintain the status quo of de-escalation in the areas of contact between Kurdish units on the one hand and Turkish factions on the other.

Russian military police armored vehicles also continue to carry out independent patrols, or joint military patrols with Turkish forces, along the international road (Hassakeh- Raqqa-Aleppo), known as the M4 road, in the same rural areas.

On the same topic, field sources confirmed to Athr Press that Russian forces are intensively pursuing military training exercises and meetings. Their objective is to bring together the perspectives of the Syrian army and the SDF. Russia has held several trilateral meetings in the Tel Tamr area, and specifically at Russia’s military base (al-Mabaker station Tel Tamr), in the past days. These actions represent an effort to find an agreed joint strategy to repel any possible Turkish attack.

North and northeast Syria are experiencing a state of high military alert after the Turkish army informed its allies of the need to prepare for an upcoming military operation against SDF in northeastern Syria. In an interview with Athr Press, sources said: “Turkish officers have already informed the so-called “command room” (Azm and the Syrian Liberation Front) of the axes of the military operation. They have asked them to start preparing, informing them that the operation starts from four positions: “The town of Tell Tamer in the northwestern countryside of Hasaka, the town of Tal Rifaat in the northern Aleppo countryside, the city of Ain Issa in the northern countryside of Raqqa, and the city of Manbij in the northeastern Aleppo countryside. Under this plan, Manbij will be the focus of the occupation.”

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In this context, for more than a week, front lines between Turkish factions and Kurdish units in the countryside of Hassakeh, Raqqa, and Aleppo have been on alert as massive military reinforcements reach those positions. These developments suggest that direct military clashes will occur as the Turkish threats grow stronger.

SDF reinforced its positions with armored vehicles and heavy weapons on the front lines facing the Turkish factions in the countryside of Tell Tamer, northwest of Hassakeh, as well as Ain Issa and Tal Abyad in the Raqqa countryside. SDF also expanded their tunnel and trench digging operations, while sending troop reinforcements to counter any possible military operation.

The sources said that SDF is digging trenches and tunnels between Tell Tamer in the Hassakeh countryside and Ain Issa in the Raqqa countryside, and has brought large reinforcements to those areas, such as in Darbasiya and Qahtaniyah in the countryside of Qamishli and Hassakeh. The sources claim that SDF has prevented people from leaving the area while adding that the families of SDF commanders were moved from areas of rural Raqqa to the city of Raqqa as a precaution ahead of any invasion. Prisoners have also been transferred to locations far from the lines of engagement.

The Kurdish military build-up in the area was offset by the introduction of a new convoy by the Turkish army. The convoy consisted of military vehicles and heavy trucks, each carrying large quantities of weapons and logistical equipment to several areas under Turkish control between the Ras al-Ain and Tell Tamer areas, northwest of Hassakeh.

On Thursday, a large convoy of cars and armored vehicles arrived in the northern countryside of Raqqa. The vehicles, belonging to Turkish factions, are trying to retake the strategic city of Ain Issa in the Raqqa countryside on the Hassakeh-Raqqa-Aleppo highway. This position allows the Turkish forces to cut off the M4 road and establish permanent, fixed positions along this strategic road.

This article was translated and 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.


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