Russia Returns To Ayn Issa Only Hours After Withdrawing

Russia has made territorial gains against the SDF, recapturing areas near Ayn Issa in northeastern Syria, writes Asharq Al-Awsat.

On Monday, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that it documented the killing of three members of the Suleiman Shah faction, loyal to Turkey, in addition to the wounding of about seven others. It stated that the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) targeted a group with a thermal missile on the axis of the village of al-Mushairfa in the Ayn Issa region in the northern countryside of the Raqqa Governorate.

According to the Observatory, the incident took place after a bombing by the Turkish forces, targeting the villages of Hoshan and Abu Surra close to the Hassakeh-Aleppo road, in addition to targeting an SDF truck, which was working on fortifying some sites in the vicinity of the silos located east of Ayn Issa.

This took place as part of mounting pressure from the Russian field forces on the SDF to withdraw from areas near Ayn Issa in northeastern Syria, in conjunction with talks about opening a humanitarian crossing between areas controlled by fighting factions in Idleb and the regime areas in northwestern Syria.

Ayn Issa

The Observatory said that the Russian forces that withdrew from the Ayn Issa base yesterday, returned to it on Monday at dawn, as eight armored vehicles with Russian forces re-entered the base and raised the Russian flag. According to the Observatory, “no information has been released as of yet about the gains Russia must have achieved so it was able to return to the base so quickly. Usually, the Russians follow a plan to subvert the SDF and threaten to withdraw every time, especially from Ayn Issa, which has aroused the resentment of the people of the regions, who feared a possible Turkish military operation.”

Alsharq Al-Awsat spoke with opposition sources in Idleb, who said that civilians in the governorate “have no intention of going to the areas under the control of the regime, which are witnessing a state of lawlessness and the domination of local and foreign Iranian militias over civilians, as well as the deterioration of livelihoods and the economy, in addition to the lack of many means and components of a decent life — such as bread, fuel, gas, food, and medicine.”

The sources explained that these reasons have pushed large numbers of civilians to leave the regime-held areas towards opposition areas in northern and western Syria, through smuggling along demarcation lines between the opposition and the regime, to escape hunger, poverty, and high prices.

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