Russian forces are establishing several positions in the southern Deir Ezzor countryside, the pro-opposition Deir Ezzor 24 blog reported on August 16, citing local sources.
The sources claimed that several Russian units are currently working to establish new positions in the town of al-Jalaa.
“Russian forces unloaded military equipment and deployed personnel in the town in preparation to establish bases for its units in the town,” Deir Ezzor 24 quoted the sources as saying.
Deir Ezzor 24 claimed that Russia stepped up its military presence in southern Deir Ezzor recently. However, this is yet to be verified.
Located less than 30km away from the border with Iraq, al-Jalaa is one of the largest towns in the western part of the Middle Euphrates River Valley. A highway leading to al-Qa’im border crossing passes through the town.
The deployment of Russian forces in al-Jalaa could be related to the near opening of the Syrian-Iraqi border, or to the ongoing security operations against the remaining ISIS cells in the region.