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What is Putin up to? Russia and Turkey stage joint drills on Syrian border – conflict fear

3 min read

Syria: Russian forces seen patrolling in Ad-Darbasiyah

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According to local reports, the team military police have conducted a patrol in the countryside of Al-Darbasiyah district, north of Al-Hasakah. Footage shared across social media shows troops from both sides moving into the region in armoured vehicles.

A helicopter has also been spotted flying over the area as the soldiers look at a map.

This comes after the US-backed Kurdish forces in Syria claimed they are concerned about a wave of Turkish drone attacks against their commanders in northeast of the country.

Last week, Turkey reportedly carried out dozens of airstrikes including several with unmanned aerial vehicles.

This was against positions belonging to the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) – a Kurdish-led military alliance and major US partner in the fight against ISIS.

Shervan Darwish, a spokesperson for the SDF-affiliated Manbij military council, said: “Turkey has recently increased its drone attacks against our military points and commanders throughout northeast Syria, in places like Kobani, Tell Tamer and most recently in Qamishli.

“The current political climate doesn’t help Turkey to wage a large-scale ground operation, so instead they use drones and airstrikes to expand their operations.”

On Monday, a US State Department spokesperson said “the United States is deeply concerned about reports of increased military activity in northeast Syria”.

They added Washington supports the “maintenance of the current cease-fire lines and urge(s) all parties to de-escalate”.

In a bipartisan letter addressed to US Secretary of State Antony Blinken earlier this month, 27 members of the US Congress expressed concern over Turkey’s plans to develop its armed drone industry.

The letter warned Turkey’s use of drones “has destabilised multiple regions of the globe and threatens U.S. interests, allies, and partners”.

It added: “Over the last year, Turkish drones have been deployed by Azerbaijan against Armenian civilians in Artsakh, Syria; against Kurdish forces that have partnered with the US in the war against ISIS; and in Libya’s civil war.”

Turkish military and allied Syrian militias have been in control of parts of northeast Syria since October 2019, following a major military campaign against SDF fighters.

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Since then, the US and Russia have sponsored separate cease-fire deals between the warring sides.

Back in September, the US ramped up its military presence in Syria following a number of skirmishes with the Russian army.

US officials said six Bradley Fighting Vehicles and about 100 troops were part of the deployment to north-east Syria.

US Navy Captain Bill Urban said at the time: “The United States does not seek conflict with any other nation in Syria, but will defend Coalition forces if necessary.

“These actions and reinforcements are a clear signal to Russia to adhere to mutual de-confliction processes and for Russia and other parties to avoid unprofessional, unsafe and provocative actions in north-east Syria.”

Fears of World War 3 were ignited across the globe just a few days into 2020 and the threat of nuclear war continues as global tensions rise.

Concerns were first triggered around the globe following the death of Iranian Major General Qassem Soleimani in a US airstrike in January last year.

Tensions between the US and Turkey have also heightened over the past year over the Syrian border.

Additionally, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan also suggested he has aspirations for Turkey which could involve nuclear weapons.

As a result, the state of the US-Turkey relationship has worsened, causing fear about the subsequent impact on the NATO alliance.

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