On January 20, the Russian Military Police deployed additional reinforcements in Syria’s northeastern region, which is controlled by the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights shared a video showing a large convoy of the Russian Military Police heading from the town of Ain Issa in northern Raqqa to the town of Tell Tamer in northern al-Hasakah.
Two days ago, the Ministry of Defense of Russia announced that 300 personnel of the military police will be deployed in al-Hasakah to reinforce joint observation posts with Syrian government forces.
“The main objective is to facilitate the de-escalation of the conflict in the region,” Maj. Dmitri Suntsov, the head of one of the joint Russian-Syrian observation posts said, according to Sputnik. “Our servicemen are monitoring adherence to the ceasefire and providing various assistance to the local population.”
The mission of the additional Russian troops will likely go beyond observing the ceasefire in the northeastern region, to mounting more pressure on the SDF.
Over the last few weeks, the SDF harassed Syrian government troops in al-Hasakah on a number of occasions. The US-backed force went as far as besieging the government-held part of the governorate’s capital.
According to several sources, the SDF wants the Damascus government to ease restrictions on Kurdish-held areas in northern Aleppo as well as to step up its military presence in northern Raqqa where Turkey may launch a military operation soon.
Russia is currently mediating between Damascus and the SDF. An initial agreement was reportedly reached. Russia’s pressure is likely meant to push the SDF into cooperating in a more positive way with Damascus to secure and stabilize the northeastern region.
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