Russian Forces Expand Presence In Syria’s Ain Issa Amid Clashes Between SDF And Turkish Proxies

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Russian Forces Expand Presence In Syria’s Ain Issa Amid Clashes Between SDF And Turkish Proxies

A Russian soldier gestures during a patrol near the Syrian and Turkish border in north Syria on Friday. Oct. 25, 2019. (AP Photo/Baderkhan Ahmad)

On December 24, the Russian Military Police established a new position in the vicinity of the town of Ain Issa. The town is controlled by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).

According to the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), the new position was built south of Ain Issa which is located in the northern Raqqa countryside.

The new Russian position was established amid heavy clashes between the SDF and Turkish-backed militants north of Ain Issa. Earlier today, Turkish forces resumed their strikes on the town.

“Clashes between the SDF on one side and factions loyal to Turkey on the other renewed in the axes of the villages of Jahbal and al-Musharrafa, amid an exchange of rocket strikes,” the SOHR said in a report.

The Russian Military Police was deployed in northeastern Syria in October of 2019 to observe a ceasefire reached after a Turkish attack on the region. A coordination and operations center was established in Ain Issa. The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) also established a number of posts around the town.

Earlier this month, a Russian brokered agreement saw the SAA and the SDF establishing three joint observation posts north, east and west of Ain Issa.

The Russian-Syrian military buildup in Ain Issa is meant to deter Turkish forces, which are eyeing the town. Last week, Ankara-backed militants attacked the town. The attack, however, was a failure.

Turkish forces are allegedly preparing a large-scale attack on Ain Issa. The SDF, which is running out of options, may eventually agree to hand the town over to the SAA.

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