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Russian, US Forces Race to Syrian-Iraqi Border | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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A member of the Syrian Democratic Forces sits inside a humvee during a battle against ISIS terrorists to retake the central hospital of Raqqa, September 28, 2017. (AFP)

Ankara, Beirut – Russia racing the US-led coalition forces to al-Mayadeen in the Syrian Deir al-Zour province near the Iraqi border by beginning to prepare for a ground battle in the city through launching several airstrikes that have already forced on Tuesday a new wave of civilian displacement from the area.

“The Syrian regime and Russian forces were getting ready to start a large military operation in the city of al-Mayadeen and therefore waged an unprecedented airstrike on the east of Deir al-Zour,” the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

The British-based monitoring group said that Russian and Syrian warplanes launched more than 900 strikes on the city and the towns and villages of its countryside.

In the past few months, al-Mayadeen was transformed into a new ISIS stronghold in the east of Syria where the terrorist group has gathered its commanders fleeing Iraq and Syria’s Raqqa.

Those militants have been the targets of the International Coalition forces, while the Syrian Democratic Forces were working to advance towards the eastern bank of the Euphrates River.

Meanwhile, Turkey provided on Tuesday additional military reinforcements for its units deployed near the border with the Syrian Idlib province.

The reinforcements include a number of military vehicles and trucks loaded with anti-bullet barriers.

Also on Tuesday, Ankara hinted again it would conduct military operations in Afrin in the countryside of Aleppo against the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), the military wing of Syria’s Kurdish Democratic Union Party.

In an interview with the Anadolu Agency, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Tuesday: “YPG needs to be completely cleared from Afrin. Turkey will not allow a terror block to be set up in Syria. A terror block on the very other side of our border is a risk for us.”

Those Turkish moves come in the framework of preparations for talks with the Russians and the Iranians to establish a de-escalation zone in the north of Syria.