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Syrian army expands presence in north amid rising tension with Turkey

As tensions between Damascus and Ankara escalate, informed sources say the Syrian army is increasing its presence in northern Syria as separatist Kurdish forces withdraw under ongoing Russian-coordinated talks between the two sides.

Citing sources close to the so-called Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), Syria’s Al-Watan newspaper reported that Russian forces raised the level of coordination between the Syrian army and the SDF militants with the aim of enabling the Syrian army to expand their presence in the city of Tabqa and the northern countryside of Raqqah.

The sources revealed that Russian officers coordinated a meeting on Wednesday between officers of the Syrian army and leaders of the SDF in the building of the self-proclaimed “defense ministry” of the militant group in the city.

They said the meeting focused on enabling the Syrian army to be stationed in those areas as the SDF militants withdraw.

The development comes against the backdrop of Ankara’s constant threats to launch a massive military operation against Kurdish militants in northern Syria to establish what it calls a “secure line” along Turkey’s border with the Arab country.

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