Russia is working to form a large local force in northeast Syria that would operate in the region from which the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) withdrew, the Step News Agency and many other outlets reported on December 15.
“Russian forces have begun to form military militia affiliated with them in the countryside of al-Hasakah, within the areas of Amuda, al-Darbasiyah and Tell Tamr, in northeast Syria … The mission of these militias will be to deploy in the positions evacuated by the SDF on the Syrian-Turkish border,” Abdulrahman al-Ahmad, the Step News Agency’s reporter in northeast Syria, said.
The SDF withdrew at least 30 km away from the border with Turkey last month in the framework of a Russian-Turkish agreement. The Russian Military Police facilitated the withdrawal process.
According to the Step News Agency, the new local force will be under the direct command of Russia, which will also provide training, arming and logistics.
While these reports remain unconfirmed for the time being, Russia established similar local forces before in Aleppo, Homs, Daraa and around the Syrian capital Damascus. Moscow also helped to establish the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) 5th Corps in 2015.