DAMASCUS (Realist English). Russian officials are trying to convince Damascus and the Kurdish militia to leave the Syrian city of Tell Rifaat to prevent a Turkish ground offensive. This is reported by Al Jazeera and al-Arabiya al- Jadeed TV channels, citing their sources in Ankara.
According to Turkish officials, the Russian Federation is making efforts to meet Turkey’s demands in northern Syria as an alternative to a military operation. It is clarified that Ankara allegedly stipulated the withdrawal of the Kurdish People’s Self-Defense Units (YPG) from the cities of Manbij, Kobani (arab. Ayn al-Arab) and Tell Rifaat.
Al Jazeera claims that Moscow was given time to fulfill Ankara’s conditions. Turkish forces are in regular contact with the Kremlin.
Ankara is ready in return to agree to the return of the Syrian government administration to some border areas as an alternative to the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) under the leadership of the YPG.
It is expected that the Turkish invasion of northern Syria would be carried out in stages. The first stage might begin in the coming days and would cover the Tell Rifaat area. Then the offensive will move to Kobani, a city with a predominantly Kurdish population, and Manbij, where the Arab majority lives.
According to sources, the Syrian government forces would be withdrawn from this area in the event of the implementation of the Turkish-Russian agreements on Tell Rifaat. And the terrorists, who are supported by Turkey, would be ordered to prepare for the capture of the city.
Tell Rifaat is important from the point of view of its strategic position, sandwiched between Turkish and Syrian government forces.