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Syria: Regime Forces Advance Towards Al-Tanf Base | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Fighters from the former Jabhat al-Nusra — since renamed and part of the group in control of Idlib — pictured in Aleppo in 2016. AFP

Beirut, Ankara- Syrian regime forces expanded their grip in the southeast part of the country near the Jordanian border, getting nearer from al-Tanf military base close to the Iraqi border where US forces and western factions from the Free Army are being trained to fight ISIS.

“Jordan is greatly sensitive to the presence of Iranian militias and Hezbollah at its border. Therefore, the military presence in this area is limited to Syrian regime forces, Palestinian factions and Moscow-trained militants,” director of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights Rami Abdel Rahman told Asharq Al-Awsat on Friday.

He asserted that regime forces would not have been capable to control the Jordanian border from the Souweida side without a Russian-US agreement, particularly that the presence of Assad forces in this zone was completely restricted.

Meanwhile, the coalition-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), an alliance of Syrian Kurds and Arabs, continued on Friday to advance in the city of Raqqa, the stronghold of ISIS, joining forces coming from the west and east to the center of the city. The SDF now controls half of Raqqa.

Separately, Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said on Friday that Turkey “will not tolerate any efforts to form an artificial state at our borders, particularly the borders we share with Syria and Iraq,” in a reference to the Iraqi Kurdistan district and other Kurdish areas in northern Syria.

Speaking to reporters in Ankara after Friday prayers, Yildirim said that Turkey would defend its borders against any threat.

And while Ankara enhanced its security measures at the border with Syria after al-Nusra Front controlled the city of Idlib, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said from Istanbul on Friday: “We will continue to dispatch humanitarian aid to Idlib, however, we will not allow the entry of arms to the area.”