A signal to Erdogan
Kremlin sends more troops to northern Syria
Kremlin leader Putin has responded to threats by Turkish President Erdogan to invade northern Syria with ground troops by increasing the Russian presence in the region. There are reportedly roadblocks at various places. This is seen as an inevitable warning by the audience.
Russia has sent troops to bolster areas held by Kurdish militia and Syrian government forces in response to Turkey’s ground offensive in northern Syria. Residents of Tal Rifaat, north of Aleppo, reported that Russian soldiers had reached the town. According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, Russia is also strengthening its forces at a nearby air base and the border town of Kobane.
The move follows a Turkish military offensive in which Ankara has hit hundreds of Kurdish targets in northern Syria and northern Iraq since November 20. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has also threatened a ground attack in the neighboring country. Rami Abdel Rahman, head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said the Russian reinforcements could be an attempt to stop or delay the Turkish offensive.
Tal Rifat is located 15 kilometers south of the Turkish border. Kurdish forces control the town and surrounding villages. Russian soldiers are already stationed in the area. According to local residents, Russian forces have already set up roadblocks along the border from positions controlled by Turkish forces and their Syrian allies. The latter control areas are north of Tal Rifat.
The Kremlin stands by Assad
Since 2015, Russia has been fighting the Syrian war alongside Syrian ruler Bashar al-Assad. Russian troops have also been in northeastern Syria since 2019 following an agreement with Turkey. Since 2016, the Turkish military has launched three offensives, mostly against Kurdish militias and occupied areas in northern Syria, now controlled by Ankara proxies.
Just days before the latest Turkish military offensive began, six people were killed in an attack in Istanbul. Ankara blamed the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK); However, the PKK and the Syrian Kurdish militia YPG deny any involvement in the attack.
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