Syrian government and Iran-backed groups send reinforcements to northern Aleppo following Turkish threats: SOHR

The reinforcements include rocket launchers, heavy artillery, and armored personnel carriers
Syrian government forces (Photo: AFP)
Syrian government forces (Photo: AFP)

ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Syrian government and Iranian-backed armed groups deployed forces in villages and towns in northern Aleppo following Turkish threats, the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) reported on Monday. 

The reinforcements include rocket launchers, heavy artillery, and armored personnel carriers deployed to the towns and villages of Al-Ziyarah, Deir Jamal, Kharibkah, Abyan, Maranaz, and Mengh military airport, where both pro-Syrian government forces and Kurdish forces are present.

The SOHR report said reinforcements have been deployed along the frontlines with Turkish forces and "National Army" factions in the northern Aleppo countryside and Shirawa district in Afrin countryside.

In October 2019, Syrian government forces entered Tal Tamr and other towns under a Moscow-backed agreement with the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) following a Turkish offensive in the area.

Despite this, tensions continue between Damascus and the SDF to the present. 

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan recently threatened to launch a new operation. 

Turkey might target Tel Rifaat in northern Aleppo, Kobani, Ain Issa, or Manbij, the pro-government Turkish newspaper Yeni Safak reported six days ago.

Since April, Turkish-backed groups have increased shelling against these areas and carried out drone attacks.

Tel Rifaat is a strategic town on the road between Aleppo and Azaz, an area that Turkey considers a 'red line' for Syrian Kurdish territorial ambitions. It was captured from rebel groups by the Syrian People's Protection Units (YPG) in 2016.

The Tel Rifaat area and Kurdish villages in northern Aleppo have hosted tens of thousands of displaced civilians from Afrin since early 2018, when Turkey and its militia proxies invaded and occupied the Kurdish enclave.

Moreover, nearby are also the Shiite towns of Nubul and Zahra in northern Aleppo, which Syrian rebel groups previously besieged. Consequently, Iran might oppose a Turkish offensive near Tel Rifaat.

On Saturday, Iran Foreign Ministry spokesperson Saeed Khatibzadeh underlined that Tehran "is opposed to any use of force on the soil of other countries to resolve disputes."