Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Speculations on Russian-Turkish Agreement for Assad Forces Entering Aleppo’s ‘al-Bab’ | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
Select Page
Media ID: 55366164

Syrians evacuate a body from the rubble of a building following air strikes in Aleppo’s rebel-held neighborhood of Tariq Al-Bab. — AFP

Beirut- Syrian political experts indicated that current geopolitical odds support that a Russian-Turkish agreement has been brokered, allowing Bashar al-Assad’s regime forces to enter al-Bab town located 40 km northeast of Aleppo, 30 km south of the Turkish border.

Assad forces supposedly would be granted the green light, after Syrian Opposition forces backed by Turkey having failed with unlocking territory held by terror group ISIS.

ISIS has benefited from defenses it built and planted around the city, such as tunnels and trenches and the sowing of mines of varying sizes and types.

Some mines are anti-personnel, while others target armored and four-wheel drive vehicles. Euphrates Shield fighters lost many of their vehicles and men during ISIS’ ongoing raid attempts. Notably, ISIS relies on car bombings and motorcycle suicide attacks.

Experts say that the agreement is part materialized by mutual consensus and compromise on behalf of Moscow and Ankara, which also brought about the Syrian peace talks being held in the Kazakh capital, Astana. A common interest serves both the Turkish government and the Syrian regime, and that is Kurdish YPG militias do not further expand influence in North Syria.

Despite the current scenario, it would not be that Turkey simply hands over al-Bab to Assad regime forces. Claims that Turkey will give up the Syrian town of al-Bab to regime forces after driving out ISIS are not true, Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus told the state-run Anadolu agency on Tuesday.

Syrian rebels, backed by Turkish Special Forces, tanks and warplanes, have been besieging al-Bab since December. Kurtulmus said the U.S.-led coalition has failed to give sufficient support to Turkey’s operation to seize the town.

Nonetheless, military operations are ongoing near al-Bab, northeast of Aleppo, between the Free Syrian Army (FSA) factions and special Turkish forces on the one hand, and terror group ISIS on the other. The battles that the armed Syrian opposition is waging with Turkish air and land support in the framework of Operation Euphrates Shield face major challenges against ISIS. The organization is defending, ever so strongly, its chief stronghold in the Aleppo countryside.