Istanbul — War in Ukraine Syrian opposition officials said this week that Russia was forced to reduce its military presence in areas that could soon face Turkey’s attacks.
Officials, including members of the opposition Syrian National Army (SNA), said Moscow had withdrawn from some parts of the northwest. Syria Near the Turkish border, including Tallifet, where Ankara said it would conduct a military operation to fight the US-backed People’s Defense Units (YPG) in Syria, which Turkey considers a terrorist group.
According to SNA officer and former spokesman Yusuf Hammoud, Turkey-backed coalition of rebels, SNA, will participate in possible operations.
Hammoud, based in northwestern Afrin, Syria, said Russia has cut off its presence in the area around Aleppo and Tarrifat.
“It will make it easier for Turkey to win this war,” Hammoud told The Daily Beast.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan His country said it would conduct military operations in the northwestern cities of Tarrifat and Manbij near the Turkish border, creating a “safe zone” where one million Syrian refugees could return.
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Tensions between Syrian refugees and locals in Turkey are increasing, putting domestic pressure on Prime Minister Erdogan, who has become less popular during the economic crisis a year before the national elections.
Attempts to occupy these areas run the risk of direct conflict between NATO member Turkey and Russia’s alliance groups.
In addition to perhaps engaging in conflict with some armed groups, invasion can result in humanitarian sacrifices, leading to the death or expulsion of those who have experienced 11 years of the Syrian civil war. ..
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights Turkey’s 2019 attack on Kurdish troops in the northeast has led to the evacuation of more than 150,000 people, he said.
Prime Minister Erdogan has not disclosed when the attack will begin.
“As I always say, we will suddenly fall on them one night. According to the Associated Press, the Turkish president said at the end of May.
Ankara claims that YPG, which has worked with the United States in the fight against ISIS, is a branch of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has rebelled in Turkey for decades and killed tens of thousands. ..
Turkey, the United States, and the EU consider the PKK a terrorist organization. Ankara has carried out four previous invasions into Syria, including one against the YPG.
With Turkey’s presence in Syria, Ankara is at odds with both NATO’s allies and strong competitors, including Russian President Bashar al-Assad in support of Syria’s President Vladimirputin.
Prime Minister Erdogan continues to support opposition rebel groups, but soothes the competing interests of neighboring nuclear power plants with important energy and tourism sources to Russia, the permanent members of the UN Security Council, and Turkey. There was a need.
Russia said Prime Minister Erdogan apologized for the incident after Moscow introduced economic sanctions against Turkey for shooting down a fighter plane that said Ankara had invaded the airspace in 2015.
If the Kremlin now implicitly accepts Turkey’s invasion of the Kremlin or its allies-controlled areas, it can be seen as an indication of how the Ukrainian invasion expanded Russian troops. A country with little geopolitical weight and military power.
The Turkish government did not respond to The Daily Beast’s request for comment on possible operations.
Ned Price, a spokesman for the US State Department, expressed concern about possible operations, saying it would undermine regional stability and endanger the battle between the US military and ISIS.
Moscow’s Syrian envoy said Russia tried to persuade Turkey not to proceed with military operations. Russian state news agency Tass reported.
Still, Moscow-based analyst Kelim Hass, who specializes in Turkey-Russia relations, said Russia could give Turkey a green light to launch an attack, despite public comments. Stated.
If Turkey or its supporting groups dominate Tal Rifat, it states that it could lead to attempts to seize nearby Aleppo, which is dominated by Russia’s ally Assad.
The Russian war in Ukraine has made Moscow more dependent on Ankara, a NATO member that has not imposed sanctions on Russia and can contribute to the Kremlin’s interests by delaying the accession of Sweden and Finland to the NATO. I believe it was.
“Mr. Edgan’s hands are stronger now with respect to Russia than they were four months ago.”
He added that Moscow may allow the invasion to increase the popularity of the Turkish president among his nationalist bases, as Russia wants Erdogan to win the next election. rice field.
Hammoud, along with SNA, said Iranian troops have taken over some of the areas where Russians have withdrawn.
Ahmad Mist, a civilian leader in northwestern Syria with a brigade at SNA, said Iranian troops controlled the area around Aleppo and Idlib in the northwestern part of Russia’s withdrawal.
“Russians still have political power [Syrian] Although it is a government, Iranians have it at the forefront and militarily, “Mist said.
He added that the withdrawal of Russian troops took place about a month to a month and a half after Moscow invaded Ukraine.
Mohammad Ismail, senior leader of the Kurdish National Transitional Council based in Qamishli in northeastern Syria, said the increased presence of troops from Iran would motivate Turkey to continue its attacks.
“A few [areas] Recognizing Russia’s withdrawal, it was buried by Iranian troops instead. If Iran is increasing their influence, Turkey must also participate, “he said.
Turkey and Iran have long been rivals, fighting for influence in the region, and Tehran is in opposition in Syria in favor of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
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Ismail added that a month ago, Russia’s presence was significantly reduced, especially in the area around Tallifet, west of the Euphrates.
Shortly thereafter, Prime Minister Erdogan announced on June 1 that a military operation would take place in Tarrifat with Manbij.
Ismail believes that Kurdish troops will hand over territory to the Syrian government to protect them from Turkish attacks.
Earlier this month, the Syrian Democratic Forces said it could work with Damascus if Ankara invaded.
This will be another motivation for Ankara’s operations, as the increased presence of the regime could push Assad-fearing civilians toward the border and increase refugees in Turkey.
But Syrian citizens are also afraid of Turkey and its allies, Ismail said.
In 2020, UN war crimes experts said SNA may have committed Torture and looting In northern Syria.
“There is no clean war,” Ismail said. “International Security Assistance Force [are] I will decide everything on the spot. “
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