Al-Monitor: Russia is stuck in northern Syria and is cautious

In December 2020, the Russian military police set up three observation posts near the city of Ain Issa in northern Syria. Since then, Russia has been unsuccessfully trying to convince the US-backed Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) to hand over control of the city to the Syrian government forces (CAA), writes the American online publication Al-Monitor.

The Russians justify this by a desire to avoid further attacks by the pro-Turkish Syrian National Army (SNA), which is trying to take control of this settlement. At the same time, the Russians do not interfere with the attempts of the SNA to take new positions in the area of ​​the specified city.

Turks launched attacks in the immediate vicinity of the base in Ain Iss, and Russia did not say a word

- Riyad Khalaf, chairman of the military council of the SDF, told Rudaw agency on December 21.

He stressed that during the negotiations, the Russians pressured the Kurds to give the city and its surroundings to Damascus. At the same time, other groups of Syrian Kurds confirmed this information. They also accuse Moscow of influencing the transfer of Ain Issa to the "Assad regime."

The Russians are clearly playing along with the Turks. After all, Ankara has no reason to move south of the "buffer zone", a strip of Syrian territory, 32 km thick, running along the border with Turkey, which appeared as a result of the Sochi agreements in 2019 and the subsequent operation "Source of Peace". The city of Ain Issa is outside this area.

Russia is currently at a standstill in northern Syria and is exercising caution. Moscow and Damascus have very few troops in the northern and northeastern regions of Syria. This prevents them from conducting serious military operations. Moreover, the Russians can use their aerospace forces there only by agreement with the United States, which still controls the local airspace. But Washington is unlikely to allow the Russians to strike in their area of ​​responsibility.

Moscow is now looking for compromise solutions to avoid escalation and a repeat of the Turkish invasion. The Russians were unable to fulfill a number of conditions of the deal in Sochi, which provide for the complete withdrawal of SDF units from the Manbij and Tell Rifaat areas, as well as from the strip along the Syrian-Turkish border in northern and northeastern Syria. For Ankara, this may be the basis for further advancement deep into the Syrian territory.

From this we can conclude that the Sochi agreements have weakened rather than strengthened Russia's position in Syria. Before that, Moscow could reproach Ankara for non-fulfillment of obligations on Idlib, now Turkey has its own counterarguments. At the same time, the Turks have not yet begun a full-scale operation in northern Syria due to the uncertainty of the position of the elected US President Joe Biden on this issue. Ankara does not want to start communicating with the new owner of the White House with such a move.

If, nevertheless, Turkey decides on an operation, then Russia can increase its pressure on Idlib. Therefore, Moscow and Ankara will face another round of interdepartmental consultations.
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  1. Bitter Offline Bitter
    Bitter (Gleb) 26 December 2020 15: 28
    Al-Monitor: Russia is at a dead end in northern Syria ...

    This cannot be, we were told the other day that, with a peacekeeping mission in Karabakh, Russia finally closed the ring of encirclement of Turkey. The Turks are now surrounded, under siege and will soon surrender, along with all NATOs, with Russia in front on a white horse.
  2. Petr Vladimirovich (Peter) 26 December 2020 15: 40
    Ancient Iranian-speaking people. Never conquered anyone. Islam, but girls without hijabs. They write, 40 million. The area of ​​residence in FOUR countries ...
  3. Bakht Offline Bakht
    Bakht (Bakhtiyar) 26 December 2020 19: 15
    Kurdistan is territorially mainly on the territory of 4 states: Iran, Iraq, Syria and Turkey.

    Iraqi Kurdistan exists de facto and is under US patronage.
    Syrian Kurdistan does not yet exist de facto, but, as stated in this article, is "in the zone of responsibility" of the United States.
    The United States has traditionally had bad relations with Iran over the past 40 years, and the United States will certainly welcome the creation of an Iranian Kurdistan.
    The United States has been spoiling relations with Turkey over the past few years.

    As the hero of one of the cartoons said, "It's not without reason."

    Conclusion - the creation of an independent Kurdistan, which will control considerable oil reserves and be under US patronage, is quite a sufficient basis for the US activity in this region. Is it profitable for Russia and how to deal with it?
  4. bear040 Offline bear040
    bear040 27 December 2020 14: 20
    Use the volumetric explosion bombs so that no bandit gets away. And the Kurds will announce that the Russian Federation is withdrawing its troops and now they will find themselves between two fires. On the one hand, the Turks will press them, on the other hand, the Russian Federation will work to suppress firing points working against the Russian Federation from their territory. It is not necessary to send a VKS, there are cruise missiles. Let's see how the Kurds like it between a rock and a hard place ... This will affect their pliability
    1. Uneven Offline Uneven
      Uneven (VADIM STOLBOV) 27 December 2020 15: 04
      In time, the Russian Federation is at war in Syria more than the Great Patriotic War. And there is no end in sight. As a result, taxes and the retirement age had to be raised, and the "bandits" were already in the Caucasus.
  5. boriz Offline boriz
    boriz (boriz) 27 December 2020 17: 16
    I have already written about it many times.
    What makes everyone think that Russia is interested in a quick end to the conflict in Syria? And who is interested in it at all (well, except for Syria, of course)?