Syria deploys more forces near Tal Tamr again to face Turkish threats
ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Syrian government forces have reinforced their positions and posts along the frontline with Turkish-backed groups near northeast Syria’s Tal Tamr, the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) reports on Saturday.
Since May, Turkey has threatened to launch a new operation near Manbij and Tal Rifaat. As a result, the SDF has increased its cooperation with Damascus amidst renewed Turkish threats.
The new deployment of Syrian government forces near Tal Tamr comes amidst a report by SOHR on Wednesday that Russian forces deployed forces in the Sarin airport near Kobani and established new military checkpoints and raised the Russian flag.
Earlier this month, there were also media reports that a large number of Syrian soldiers arrived in SDF areas near Ain Issa, al-Bab, Manbij and Kobani after an agreement between the SDF and Damascus.
Syrian Democratic Forces Commander-in-Chief Mazloum Abdi told reporters on Friday that they have “accepted the Syrian Army’s reinforcement of some posts in Kobane, Manbij and some border areas to achieve its task of protecting the Syrian borders.”
“This time we will not be alone in the war, all the region's peoples and the Syrian army are ready to defend the Syrian soil,” he added. “We do not want the war, and we want to maintain the de-escalation.”
He also said that the SDF is waiting for the outcome of a tripartite meeting that will be held on July 19 between Iran, Turkey and Russia. “We believe that the other parties will not allow the Turkish forces to attack our regions,” he stated.
So far, Iran, Russia and also the US have publicly opposed a new Turkish operation.
Amb. James Jeffrey, former US Special Representative for Syria during an event by the Turkish SETA Foundation in Washington said a new Turkish operation would ‘devastate US-Turkish relations’.
“That would probably force the Biden administration to either have to withdraw its troops or have its troops defend its territory against a NATO ally.”
“And if we withdraw our troops then the entire struggle against the Islamic State in Syria, where it is far more powerful in addition to their status in Iraq, will be over.”
Also in Oct. 2019, forces from Damascus entered Tal Tamr, Kobani, and other towns under a Moscow-backed agreement with the SDF following the Turkish operation Peace Spring.
Moreover, Russia signed the Sochi agreement with Turkey that allowed Turkey to control Tal Abyad and Serekaniye (Ras al-Ain).
The agreement also called for the removal of SDF forces, 30 kilometres south of the Turkish border in two other areas: the territory to the east and the territory to the west of areas that were taken by Turkey in 2019.
“We request Russia to comply with the Sochi Agreement (2019),” Commander-in-Chief Mazloum Abdi also said on Friday.
“We are committed to the Ceasefire Agreement, and our forces have withdrawn 30 km away from the borderline where Russian-Turkish patrols started to run and the Syrian Governmental forces deployed,” he added.
Therefore, the former US envoy Amb. Jeffrey said on Friday that, Turkey would have to deal with Russia if they launch a new operation.
Russia also has troops in both Manbij and Tal Rifaat, where Turkey is supposedly planning to launch a new operation.
“They would have to deal with the Russians rather than in a few areas, where there are American troops, but still that would be seen as undermining the whole struggle against the Islamic State,” he said.
Dana Stroul, the US Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for the Middle East, during a seminar at the Middle East Institute in Washington DC last Wednesday, also underlined US opposition against Turkish operations because ISIS would benefit from such a campaign, and would push the SDF to make agreements with adversaries of the US.
“Therefore, if it's Assad, Russia, or more instability in the area that opens up the door for more Iranian destabilizing activities, I would put forth that is a risk for everyone, not just for the United States (...).”
Edited by NA