The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) confirmed that a new deal has been reached with the government in Damascus to secure the town of Ain Issa in northern Raqqa from Turkish attacks.
On December 9, the SDF’s Tell Abyad Military Council said in a statement that the deal, which is meant to “observe” the ceasefire in the region, was brokered by Russia.
Turkey, which invaded northeastern Syria last year, agreed on a ceasefire in northern Raqqa and many other parts of the region in two separate agreements with Russia and the United States. Nevertheless, to this day Turkish forces continue to regularly violate the ceasefire there.
Under the new deal, the SDF and the Syrian Arab Army established three joint “observation posts” north, east and west of Ain Issa. The three posts are located along the M4 highway, which links northern Raqqa with al-Hasakah in the east and Aleppo in the west.
The Russian Military Police maintains a fairly large presence in Ain Issa. The town hosts a Coordination and Operations Center of Russian forces.
According to the Hawar News Agency, Russian helicopters have been conducting patrols over Ain Issa on a daily basis since December 6.
The new agreement came following two weeks of repeated Turkish attacks on Ain Issa. The town was being shelled on a daily basis. Several SDF fighters and a Syrian soldier were killed.
Russia reportedly warned the SDF of a nearing Turkish attack on Ain Issa, which forced the U.S.-backed group to reach an agreement with Damascus. The agreement will deter Turkish forces and allow the government forces to expand their influence in Raqqa.
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