The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) is preparing to launch a large military operation to liberate the city of al-Bab in northern Aleppo from Turkish forces, several pro-government sources reported on February 19.
The claims came following the deployment of large reinforcements from the army’s 5th Crops and 25th Special Forces Division near al-Bab. According to pro-government sources, over 300 battle tanks, armored vehicles and artillery have been deployed there.
Major Youssef Hammoud, a spokesman for the Turkish-backed Syrian National Army, told Enab Baladi that a number of SAA units were deployed in four areas near al-Bab city.
The spokesman didn’t rule out the possibility of the SAA and its allies, including Russian forces, launching a surprise ground attack on the city.
“We do not trust the Russian side because it is untrustworthy, and all the understandings which were reached with it were not based on mutual trust,” Hammoud said.
The Turkish military and its proxies occupied al-Bab city after a heated battle with ISIS, which took place between 2016 and 2017. Since then, a state of lawlessness has been prevailing over the city.
Al-Bab city is located right on the M4 highway, which links northeastern Syria with the country’s northern and coastal regions. This makes the northern city of great importance for Damascus. Turkish forces will not likely give up the city without a fierce fight.
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