Russian intervention in Syria 74 months on | Nearly 30 casualties in "de-escalation zone"…hectic movements…five joint patrols with the Turks in NE Syria • The Syrian Observatory For Human Rights

Russian intervention in Syria 74 months on | Nearly 30 casualties in “de-escalation zone”…hectic movements…five joint patrols with the Turks in NE Syria

At a time when Russia’s plans are proceeding with their 74th consecutive month of involvement in the Syrian crisis, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights has monitored and tracked the recent developments during the tenth month of the sixth year of the Russian intervention in Syria. These key developments can be summarized regionally as follows:

 

North-east Syria

 

This month, Russian and Turkish forces conducted five patrols, four of which were in Ain al-Arab countryside (Kobani) in Aleppo province, while only one was in al-Hasakah countryside, and they were as follows:

 

  • The first patrol was conducted on November 1 when Russian and Turkish vehicles set off from Ghareeb village, 15 km to the east of Kobani in east Aleppo countryside, and toured Karbnaf, Kousak, Ali Shar, Joum Ali, Kourtik, Koubak Satan, Tiri, Tel Hajeb, Qabajiq Sagheer, Bouztabah, Qarrat Mogh, Jishan and Kharbisan Tahtany villages, before returning back to the starting point.

 

  • The second patrol was conducted on November 15, as Russian and Turkish vehicles set off from Ghareeb village in the east of Kobani, near the Syria-Turkey border, and toured the villages of Karbanav, Kusak, Alishar, Joum Ali, Kurtek, Kubek Satan, Teri, Teljib (Tel Hajib), Qabajik Saghir, Talak, Hulaqiyah, Kharbisan Tahtani (Itoiran Tahtani), Jayshan and Qarrah Mough, before it returned to the starting point. After the mission was accomplished, the Turkish vehicles crossed into Turkey, via the border gate near Ghareeb village, while the Russian ones returned to their base in Kobani countryside.

 

  • The third patrol was on November 18 when Russian and Turkish vehicles toured several villages and towns in Al-Hasakah countryside. The patrol which comprised nine vehicles escorted by two Russian helicopters, set off from Sherik crossing in the west of Darbasiyyah and headed to the southern countryside of the city, where they toured the villages of Qarmaniyyah, Tel Kaddish, Ghanamiyyah, Karbatly. The patrol later headed to the villages of Jadidah, Tel Tayrah, Tel Karma, Abu Jaradi, Khaski, Khanki and Bahira in the eastern countryside of Darbasiyyah and western countryside of Amuda. This patrols came after suspension of joint patrols between Russian and Turkish forces in that region for nearly three weeks over media and press reports of a new Turkish attack on SDF-held areas in north-east Syria.

 

  • The fourth patrol was conducted on November 22, as Russian and Turkish vehicles set off form Ghareeb village in the east of Kobani, near the Syria-Turkey border, and toured some villages and town in that region, before it returned to the starting point. After the mission was accomplished, the Turkish vehicles crossed into Turkey, via the border gate near Ghareeb village, while the Russian ones returned to their base in Kobani countryside.

 

  • The fifth patrol was conducted on November 29 when Russian and Turkish vehicles set off form Ghareeb village in the east of Kobani and toured the villages of Qarrah Mough, Jayshan, Kharabisan Tahtani, Itowayran Tahtani, Baghdik and Khana Badrakhan, before it returned to the starting point. The patrol was escorted by two Russian helicopters.

 

 

 

North-west Syria

 

In the past month, Russian fighter jets continued their airstrikes on the “de-escalation zone”, targeting various positions in Idlib and Latakia countryside with over 40 airstrikes on seven days, October 30, November 6, 11, 15, 17, 22 and 25.

 

These airstrikes hit positions in the following areas:

 

  • Idlib province: former and abandoned headquarters of the 23rd Division nearby Qah area on the Syria border with Iskenderun region, the surrounding areas of Mashaman, Iblin, Majdaliya, Deir Sonbol, Marrat, Al-Na’saan, the outskirts of Bruma, Al-Habbat junction, the outskirts of Taltita, Shaan, the area between Qumaynas and Sarmin, Majliya and Maarbalit.

 

  • Latakia: Kabana in Jabal Al-Akrad in the northern countryside of Latakia.

 

The Russian airstrikes on the “de-escalation zone” left eight civilians dead and over 20 others injured. The fatalities were distributed as follows:

 

  • A family of five, father, mother two of their children and another child, were killed in a massacre committed by Russian fighter jets on November 11, as one of the airstrikes which targeted positions on the outskirts of Bruma and Al-Habbat junction hit the victims’ house.

 

  • Two civilians were killed in three airstrikes by Russian jets, on November 22, on workers picking olive on the outskirts of Taltita village inhabited by civilians of the Druze sect in Jabal Al-Sammaq area in western Idlib.

 

  • A woman was killed in a Russian airstrike on November 25, while she was picking olive nearby Shaan village in Jabal al-Zawiyah in southern Idlib. It is worth noting that the targeted region hosted Turkish posts and positions.

 

 

Hectic movements

 

In early November, Russian forces established a new military base on Aleppo-Al-Hasakah international highway “M4” in eastern Manbij city in the eastern countryside of Aleppo. According to sources, Russian vehicles were stationed in an artillery base where regime forces had been stationed. The new base was nearly 20 kilometres to the south of Turkish positions. This development came as a part of Russian forces’ efforts to strengthen their presence in the area from east Aleppo countryside to Ain Issa north of Al-Raqqah province on Aleppo-Al-Hasakah international highway.

 

With the current successive events in north and east Syria, including the arrival of regime military reinforcement in SDF-held areas in light of the Turkish threats of launching a military operation in SDF-held areas, SOHR activists reported, on November 8, that the Russian forces exert pressure on SDF to allow the deployment of regime tanks in Manbaj in east Aleppo. However, SDF rejected the request of the Russian general who threatened to bombard al-Tayeh crossing (Abou Kahaf) in western Manbij which connected regime-held areas area SDF-held areas.

 

Also, on November 12, Russian forces deployed S-300 air-defence system in Al-Tabaqah airbase, a major Russian base in Al-Raqqah countryside. The deployment came as a part of the Russian hectic movements in north east Syria, such as bringing in large military reinforcement in a few days earlier and conducting military manoeuvres with regime forces. Reinforcement and helicopters had arrived in al-Tabaqah airbase. However, it the objects and targets of the recently-deployed air-defence system remained unknown.

 

On November 29, a group of the residents of Al-Mazra’a town in Al-Suwaidaa countryside expelled a Russian patrol from their town. The Russian patrol, which was escorted by a patrol of the military security service, had headed to the preparatory school in the town in order to distribute assistances to the students, but the residents expelled them while chanting slogans describing Russia as “an occupying power”. Before heading to Al-Mazra’a, the Russian forces had distributed some food baskets to residents in Shabaa city.

 

 

Syrian desert

 

In the 74th month of military operations in Syria, SOHR activists document the death of 15 ISIS members and injury of 32 others in more than 600 Russian airstrikes on their positions in the Syrian desert, mostly killed in al-Raqqah desert, Deir Ezzor, Homs and Aleppo-Hama-al-Raqqah triangle.

 

 

As months pass, the Syrians suffer the scourge of the Russian intervention, which seems to resemble a kind of revenge and retaliation against Syrians for protesting against the regime that committed the worst violations against its own people. At a time when the map of alliances and power balances is changing, Russia has become the ultimate winner, succeeding in helping the Syrian regime regaining control over about two-thirds of the country after losing control of most of its territory. Moscow used the pretext of “the war on terror” to commit massacres against civilians, and sponsored and struck agreements which soon after abandoned. Moscow and its war machine spilt in the blood of Syrians despite claiming to be “political mediator” or “broker” that can deal with all parties to the conflict.

With all recent changes in the balance of powers, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights renews its appeals to the international community to put pressure on Russia to stop its aggression against the Syrians, and to find a political solution to end the Syrian crisis that completed its tenth year.

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