Russia Preventing Clashes Between Turkish and Syrian Forces
by Stephen Lendman (stephenlendman.org – Home – Stephen Lendman)
Government forces entered the strategic city of Manbij and Raqqa in northern Syria, areas Turkey’s Erdogan seeks control over, part of his aim to annex as much cross-border territory as his forces can occupy.
AMN News reported that the Syrian Arab Army sent heavy weapons to Manbij to prevent Turkish troops from capturing the city.
Syrian forces now control a Pentagon base in the city after US special forces were withdrawn.
Russian officials are in regular contact with their US and Turkish counterparts. According to the Pentagon, newly appointed US Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman General Mark Milley discussed the situation in northern Syria with Russian Chief of General Staff Gen. Valery Gerasimov on Monday, a statement saying:
“The two military leaders exchanged their views on issues of mutual concern in Syria. The two leaders have agreed to keep the specific details of their conversation secret.”
A similar Russian statement was issued. On Tuesday, Russian special presidential envoy for Syria Alexander Lavrentyev said the following:
“We all hope that US troops will leave Syria sooner or later. However, it is hard to say now what the end result will be despite Trump’s statement that troops should be withdrawn within two weeks.”
His withdrawal pledge last January never happened. US troops in northern parts of the country are being redeployed south of their positions and to neighboring states — remaining in the region along with thousands more coming to Saudi Arabia.
Russia is concerned about potential clashes between Turkish and Syrian forces in northern areas Erdogan seeks control over, Lavrentyev adding:
“(I)t’s not just that no one is interested in confrontation (between forces of both countries. It’s that it is simply unacceptable. This is why we will not let this happen, of course.”
Russia’s Defense Ministry said the Syrian Arab Army is in full control of Mahbij and surrounding areas.
Russian military police are patrolling areas between Syrian and Turkish forces to prevent clashes between both sides, Russian officials in regular contact with their Turkish counterparts to prevent this from happening.
The Pentagon controlled Stars and Stripes reported that “Syrian troops waved flags in the streets after they rolled into Manbij, a flashpoint town west of the Euphrates River that Turkey had been aiming to capture and wrest from Kurdish control,” adding:
Video by a Russian journalist showed him posing inside an abandoned US base in Manbij.
So far, no clashes between Syrian forces and Turkish proxies or their regulars occurred.
Pentagon spokesman Col. Myles Caggins reported that US troops completed their pullout from Manbij and surrounding areas.
Kurdish YPG officials partnered with Damascus against Turkish aggression. US UN envoy Kelly Craft said the Trump regime is “deeply concerned” about Russian military personnel replacing Pentagon forces in the area.
Heavy clashes continue between Turkish forces, their proxies and Kurdish fighters.
The neocon/CIA-connected Washington Post reported that Russian forces are patrolling areas Pentagon troops controlled before withdrawing — Moscow “moving to fill a security vacuum after” their pullout, adding:
“The Syrian Kurds announced Monday that they had struck an agreement with the government of President Bashar al-Assad aimed at blunting a nearly week-long Turkish government offensive into Kurdish-held territory in northern Syria.”
Defying calls by NATO and EU countries to halt Turkey’s cross-border aggression, Erdogan vowed to continue it, on Tuesday saying:
“We will soon secure the region from Manbij to the border with Iraq,” aiming to control around 230 miles of Syrian territory bordering Turkey, as deep into the country as he can get away with seizing and occupying.
Moscow is the key interlocutor with all sides of the conflict, aiming to prevent things from spinning more out of control than already.
According to Erdogan regime’s communications director Fahrettin Altun, his cross-border aggression will continue until its aims are achieved.
Fighting could continue for some time, making restoration of peace and stability to Syria all the harder.
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