Azaz, Syria – Turkish-backed Syrian opposition forces have stated their forces are prepared for battle, and count on a new Turkish military operation in Syria to start out quickly.
Items of the Syrian Nationwide Military (SNA) paraded on Thursday by the streets of Azaz, a city in northern Aleppo province, in an effort to point out their preparedness for the operation that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has threatened in current weeks towards the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).
Autos drove 1000’s of armed fighters by Azaz and several other areas close to the entrance strains between areas managed by Turkey and the SDF in Tal Rifaat.
“The aim is to be on standby for the battle and present our energy,” stated Common Abdul Salam Hamidi, a commander within the SNA’s Third Corps, whose forces had been taking part within the parade.
Erdogan has acknowledged that Tal Rifaat, which lies in a pocket of SDF-controlled territory surrounded by Turkish and Syrian government-controlled territory, is a goal for the operation, together with Manbij, which lies to the east.
Turkey goals to power SDF fighters out of areas on the Turkey-Syria border that Ankara needs to manage as a part of a 30-kilometre “secure zone”, the place Syrian refugees might be relocated, amid controversy in Turkey over the hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees within the nation.
Turkey has taken management of huge stretches of territory alongside the border after combating ISIL (ISIS) and the SDF in three main operations since 2016.
Nevertheless, SDF-controlled territory reminiscent of Tal Rifaat, Manbij and Kobane stay out of Ankara’s attain.
The United Nations accused Turkey and its Syrian allies of human rights violations throughout the latest 2019 operation, which focused Afrin, in northern Aleppo province.
On the time, Turkey rejected the accusations, and referred to as them “unfounded allegations”.
America-backed SDF is essentially made up of the YPG, an offshoot of the Kurdistan Staff’ Get together (PKK), which Turkey, the European Union and the US have designated as a “terrorist” organisation.
“Preparations for this battle have been ongoing for a very long time, and now we have not stopped coaching our models,” stated Hamidi. “The coaching concerned making certain that the fighters had been prepared for battle.”
Though shelling has been persevering with between the SNA and the SDF, it’s unclear when Turkey will launch the brand new operation, if it chooses to take action.
Russia, the US, and the Syrian authorities have all publicly voiced their opposition to any new army operation, and the SDF has stated that it’ll turn to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad if Turkey assaults.
A spokesman for the SNA additionally stated that Russia had been reinforcing positions close to Tal Rifaat, Manbij and the southern outskirts of Kobane.
However, after the army parade in Azaz, the SNA continues to be adamant that the combat will occur.
“The preliminary targets are to take management of Tal Rifaat and Manbij, in addition to their surrounding areas, to push out the SDF, and permit for residents who had beforehand been pressured out to return,” Abu Ali Atono, a commander within the SNA, instructed Al Jazeera.
Many residents of Tal Rifaat, which has a blended Arab and Kurdish inhabitants, fled the city when it was taken by the SDF in 2016, after Russian air assaults. A lot of the Arab residents haven’t returned.
“A lot of our fighters are from Tal Rifaat and Manbij,” stated Atono. “They think about the upcoming army operation an opportunity to liberate their cities and return residence.”