The Russian Military Police have established a headquarters in the Syrian town of al-Bukamal on the border line with Iraq, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) reported on December 10.
The headquarters was established inside the “Tourist Hotel” in the center of the town, which is located in the southern Deir Ezzor countryside.
The SOHR claimed the Russian Military Police deployment in al-Bukamal is somehow meant to challenge Iran’s influence in southern Deir Ezzor. This claim is pretty questionable.
“This development comes after several attempts opposed by the Iranian militias which control the town,” the SOHR’s report read.
It is the fact that Iranian-backed forces maintain a large presence in Deir Ezzor, especially on the border with Iraq. However, Russia’s presence there is not new. The Russian Military Police have been patrolling the region for three years.
The Russian military presence in Deir Ezzor is, in fact, meant to confront the threat posed by ISIS as well as the US-led coalition. The US and its ally, the Syrian Democratic Forces, are in control of the governorate’s eastern part.
Several coalition bases with dozens of heavily-armed troops are situated on the eastern bank of the Euphrates River, a few hundred meters away from the government-held western bank.
In the last three years, many reports talked about US plans to attack al-Bukamal, the only open route between Iraq and government-held areas in Syria. The Russian and Iranian military presence in the Deir Ezzor are meant to deter the US and prevent any such move.
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