Turkish-backed groups parade military forces near Syria's Tal Rifaat
ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Turkish-backed forces paraded military forces near the Syrian city of Tal Rifaat in northern Aleppo on Sunday amidst Turkish threats to launch a new operation.
The Turkish-backed Syrian National Army (SNA)-affiliated Hayat Thaeroon for Liberation paraded in the streets of neighboring Afrin on Sunday, the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) war monitor reported.
The SNA's Tal Rifaat Military Council also carried out military maneuvers on the outskirts of Tal Rifaat on Saturday.
"The military convoys, which include cannons, machine guns, heavy vehicles and mortars, set off from Sjo-Azaz road in Aleppo countryside," SOHR said.
Pro-SNA social media accounts claimed the maneuvers were part of preparations to attack Tal Rifaat.
It is not the first time SNA forces carried out military drills in the area. In early June, SNA forces held drills near Tal Rifaat and Azaz, Al-Monitor reported.
Two drones also targeted Tal Rifaat on Sunday, injuring two Syrian soldiers, the pro-Syrian rebel Levant24 reported. Drone strikes have increased in northern Syria amidst increased Turkish threats.
Moreover, local media reports that Turkish-backed groups shelled villages near Manbij on Sunday and villages near Tal Rifaat on Saturday.
On June 27, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan again threatened that Turkey would start a new military operation "as soon as preparations on the Syrian border are completed."
He earlier said Turkey would target Tal Rifaat and Manbij.
From 2016 until 2019, Turkey carried out three cross-border military operations to prevent territorial expansion by Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).
However, a new operation might not be possible without a Russian or US green light. Both of these countries publicly oppose such a move.
Moreover, during a visit to Damascus, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian said that any military operation in Syria would result in instability and insecurity in the region, the state-run Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) reported.
"We are against any military action against Syria," he said, contradicting earlier remarks he made on June 28, during a visit to Turkey, in which he said a "special (Turkish) operation might be needed."