Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Washington, Moscow Confront North Syria Turkish Expansion | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Beirut- Russia’s expansion in north Aleppo indicates that Moscow has decided to consolidate its military presence in Afrin, which is controlled by the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG).

Russia’s actions aim at determining the border of the Euphrates Shield’s region, which falls under the control of Turkey in northern Syria, and limiting the expansion of the forces it supports in Aleppo’s countryside 15 days after US forces entered the city of Manbij to hinder Euphrates Shield’s attempts to advance towards the city.

Director of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) Rami Abdulrahman explained to Asharq Al-Awsat US-Russian attempts to reduce the role of Turkey through the deployment of their forces in Manbij and Afrin.

He said that these developments are an indication of power sharing.

Abdulrahman also noted that east of the Euphrates River has practically become a US operations area whereas Russia is operating in the region west of it.

“There is a special training base for Moscow in Afrin, just like Hmeymim base,” Abdulrahman said.

“Coordination with Moscow is currently limited to Afrin and al-Bab,” according to leading Kurdish sources in northern Syria.

The sources said that Russia’s role in the two mentioned areas lies in establishing a center for observation and reconciliation, which serves as a base to monitor the truce violations and stop the Turkish expansion.

Sources told Asharq Al-Awsat that Russia’s expansion in Afrin is a clear message to Turks “who were threatening us to enter Afrin’s countryside, Menagh Airport and Tell Rifaat.”

In this matter, the SOHR quoted reliable sources in Afrin as saying that dozens of Russian soldiers have entered the area with military vehicles and positioned in the countryside of the city.

Sources said that around 100 members of the Russian Special Forces have entered with armored vehicles in line with an agreement between the Russian and Kurdish forces.

The sources confirmed to the Observatory that these forces will take position in a camp in Kafr Janah area in the countryside of Afrin to prepare for the establishment of a Russian military base, which will play two main roles: to prevent skirmishes between the Kurdish and Turkish forces in the border area of Afrin region and the Kurdish controlled areas, and to train the Kurdish forces.