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At this point the escalation in Syria seems long overdue, with all involved parties on edge and expecting it to happen at any moment.
The Russian Aerospace Forces (VKS) and the SAA are doing their best to impede the operation and to deter Turkey and the militant factions it backs from moving forward.
On November 11th, Russian reportedly deployed a long-range air-defense system in al-Tabqah Air Base in Syria’s northeastern region. The system deployed in the air base may be a Russian S-400, which uses similar transporter erector launchers (TELs), an S-300 PM2 or even one of the Syrian S-300PMU2 systems. It is unclear since only photographs of the TELs were released.
On November 11th, Syrian Arab Army (SAA) troops prevented a convoy of the US-led coalition from entering the town of al-Qamishli in the northern al-Hasakah countryside
Al-Qamishli is controlled by both the SAA and the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces. Russian forces are also present at an airport to the west of the town.
This is not the first time US convoys were intercepted by the SAA, as well as other pro-government fighters. On October 21 and 24, two US-led coalition convoys in the northern countryside of al-Hasakah were also intercepted.
These are all attempts to limit the United States’ activities in northeastern Syria. It is especially significant in these past few weeks, as Ankara expects to receive Washington’s approval of, if not support for its upcoming operation. Turkey maintains that “terrorist statelets” would have emerged across its southern borders with Iraq and Syria had Ankara not conducted its anti-terror operations in recent years, and that the upcoming ones are necessary for the same precise reason.
In nearby Greater Idlib, where Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) rules, the other al-Qaeda-affiliated groups, Russia’s VKS continue their airstrikes to punish the constant ceasefire violations.
Accusations surfaced, following the most recent air raids by the VKS, that 5 civilians were killed and at least 6 others were injured. This information came from the White Helmets “rescue group” which has been implicated in carrying out numerous provocations throughout the years of Syria’s war.
The footage shows members of the Western-backed White Helmets walking slowly and carelessly back to the alleged targeted site after running towards an ambulance with a stretcher as if they were acting.
However, Russian drone footage suggests that these claims are inaccurate, if not completely false.
Justification for Turkey’s operations seems to be hard to come by, as civilians are often coming out to protest its ambitions of spilling more blood, and using outside distractions for its own internal issues.