Russia deploys military reinforcements to Northern Syria amid Turkish threats
Russia on Wednesday deployed troop reinforcements to Northern Syria amid fears of a Turkish ground offensive, AFP reported.
Russian reinforcements stationed in Tal Rifaat, an area where its troops were already present, AFP said, citing residents and a war monitor.
Tal Rifaat is located north of Aleppo near Turkish border and controlled by the Kurdish fighters and Syrian government troops.
Russia’s move came after Turkey launched airstrikes into Northern Syria, following a deadly Istanbul attack that Ankara blamed on Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and its Syrian affiliate Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YGP). Despite Kurdish groups denied involvement, Turkey also threatened a ground operation into the region.
Tal Rifaat residents told AFP that the Russian forces had set up roadblocks at a nearby village separating it from positions under the control of Turkish forces and their Syrian proxies.
Syrian rebel groups backed by Turkey controls the areas surrounding Tal Rifaat from the north, while Russian-backed Syrian troops control zones mostly to the south, AFP said.
AFP also said that Russia was also reinforcing troops at a government-controlled airbase near Tal Rifaat, citing the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a UK-based war monitor.
On Sunday, Alexander Chaiko, the chief of Russian forces in Syria held a meeting with Mazloum Abdi, the chief commander of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) to discuss what can be done to avoid a new major incursion by Turkey, the Lebanon-based Al-Mayadeen TV said.
Since 2016, Turkey has carried out three large-scale operations in Syria to combat YPG, that sees as an offshoot of the PKK, an armed group fighting a war with Turkish military since 1984 for Kurdish autonomous rights.
The YPG forms the backbone of the US-backed SDF.