The Russian military grouping in Syria has deployed heavy howitzer near an important frontline with Turkish forces in the northern countryside of Aleppo.
A video that surfaced online on November 30 shows a Russian battery of Msta-B towed 152 mm howitzers moving in the direction of the town of Tell Rifaat. The London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that the battery was deployed at a newly-established position in the nearby village of Tell Jijan.
The Msta-B has a maximum firing range of 25 kilometers with base bleed rounds and up to 29 kilometers with rocket-assisted rounds. It can also fire the laser-guided 2K25 Krasnopol round, which has a range of 20-25 kilometers. The howitzer can fire up to six rounds per minute.
Tell Rifaat is jointly held by the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and the Syrian Arab Army (SAA). The Russian military has been present around the town since the 2018 Turkish invasion of the nearby area of Afrin.
Turkey launched a large-scale operation against Kurdish forces in Syria and Iraq, codenamed Claw-Sword, on November 20, in response to the November 13 deadly bombing in Istanbul.
So far, the operation has been limited to air and artillery strikes. However, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and other senior Turkish officials have already warned of a near ground phase. Tell Rifaat was one of three towns which were recently named by President Erdogan as main targets of any new ground operation in northern Syria, with the other two being the nearby towns of Manbij and Kobane.
The Russian military move near Tell Rifaat came just a day after a Turkish official told Al Jazeera that Ankara completed all military and logistic preparations needed to launch a ground operation against Kurdish forces in northern Syria.
The unnamed official said that Turkey had informed Russia of its rejection of the presence of the SAA in SDF territory in northern Syria.
The Russian military is not moving on Tell Rifaat frontline alone. Late on November 29, the SAA and Iranian-backed armed formations from the Shiite towns of Zahraa and Nubl deployed large reinforcement on the frontline, including several battle tanks and armored personnel carriers.
The deployment of Russian and Syrian reinforcements on Tell Rifaat frontline could force Turkey to reconsider its military plans, or at least delay them.
Together, Russia, Turkey and Iran should expel the United States and its ally (the Kurds) from Northern Syria and Northern Iraq so The Kurdistan and Usa can not steal more stolen Syrian petrol and by selling this petrol can not continue buying heawy weapons which are litteraly are gonna being used across hitting Russian and iran’s and Turkey’s targets in the future.
But erdogon is hypocrite. if he wants he can finish this mess in idlib right now and concentrate in SDF held areas toghter with SAA and russia to expel US and SDF illegal occupied territory . but Erdogon think he is king and alone can do anyhting.
The U.S will not leave Syria without Iran being expelled and Russia lacks the capability to expell Iran.
Turkey cannot leave Syria without solving the refugee and SDF issue. The solution to both is the 30km safe zone.
Problem is, Assad doesn’t negotiate in good faith and this 30km safe zone will destroy Assad if it ever came to fruition.
Erdogan is still trying to help the Syrians decide their fate
I agree. Turks are a reliable ally.
It’s so cute let Russia think carefully, we Turks will have no mercy. the United States and other countries in Europe supply arms to the PKK/YPG and russia supplies the Syrian army with arms as well. give all the weapons you want, we will crush you all.
Russia knows that if Turkey creates the 30km safe zone, things will get really bad for Assad, Iran and Russia. Look at it this way:
Turkey creates this zone, builds it and repatriates Syrian refugees here. The Turkish military will deploy forces allover the 30km safe zone to protect the refugess and prevent the return of SDF forces. More Syrian Sunnis migrate from Assad-held territories to the Turkish protected safe zones, including Idlib. Assad is isolated with little population and an obliterated economy. Turkey rebuilds these refugee settlements into towns and cities integrated with the Turkish economy, electricity grid, schools, hospitals, etc. More and more Sunni Syrians will migrate to this region, further draining Assad-held territories of population. Assad may end up controlling a vast empty land with just Shiites, Alawites and all kinds of criminals, including ISIS.
If Turkey creates this safe zone, it has defeated all forces against Turkey in Syria and deprived them of all leverage. Russia was banking on the Kurdish card to get Erdogan to withdraw Turkish forces in exchange for Russia dismantling the Kurds or at least reducing their threat to Turkey. Erdogan doubts Russia is capable of doing that – at least not without igniting another civil war.
THE DEFEAT AND SURVIVAL OF ASSAD DEPENDS ON THIS SAFE ZONE.
If Turkey creates the safe zone, Assad is finished. This is why America tacitly supports it.
This is why Russia is scrambling to prevent it. We’ll see what happens.
STFU u little morons . if SAAwants toghter with syrian hezbollah and russia . they should have finish this terrorist in idlib way before. its only SAA/Russia is using turk erdogon to beat SDF and US. just wait and watch
We’ll see, but make no mistake about this: If Turkey creates a safe environment with a booming economy and modern infrastructure, Assad will end up controlling empty lands. You lack foresight and you’ll realize this over time.
Russia using Turkey to destroy the SDF? then why is Russia trying to prevent Turkey destroying them with this invasion? Russia should step aside not try to prevent a Turkish incursion that is sure to destroy the SDF along this 30km strip of land. Besides, Russia could not get the SDF to hand this 30km strip to the SAA. Yet, Russia would rather risk a clash with Turkey than see the stubborn SDF pushed back (not destroyed) 30km. It means something bigger than the SDF is at stake for Russia. That thing is the 30km safe zone turining into bustling cities with a functional economy.
You really lack some reasoning
Explain Russia’s willingness to risk a clash with Turkey despite the Ukraine war, instead of just standing aside and letting Turkey weaken the SDF (which is also the enemy of Assad).
You are reading an article which clearly states that Russia is moving their troops and weapons to the same towns the Turks have said they are attacking. Come back tomorrow to comment on the Turkish stand down.
Russia moved thousands of troops to Ukraine. I guess Zelensky backed off. Nuclear? What was Shabaz doing in Turkey about a week ago.
Russia only wants a weakened Turkey and knows that this war will last for many years with many hundreds of thousands of Islamists killed.
I have the popcorn ready for the next episode in the series.
And whose military will weaken Turkey?
The next episode is already unfolding in Europe. I’ve already eaten half my popcorn
Big man dreams in a broken brain.
Why didn’t you win in Syria long ago then?
Arab refugees, Syrian refugees have to be send back (totally to the SaFe Zone ) from Turkey back to the Syria urgently!!!
This is what Erdogan is trying to do. Russia fears (and rightly so) that this safe zone will drain Assad of population and manpower.
expel US and SDF from illegal occupied territories now
It’s Russia and Iran’s job to do that, not Turkey’s. All Turkey needs to do is create a safe zone for Syrian refugees to return. Erdogan will solve a political problem while creating one for Assad.
Russia Assad and Turkey should actually join forces to erradicate those seccesionist PKK-YPG-SDF Kurdish terrorists.