Russia opposes Turkey operation in Syria, Damascus enforces military
The Syrian army enforces its military points in the north of Aleppo as Russian aircraft flew over the contact line with the Turkish occupation forces.
Russia is opposed to Turkey's plans to hold a military operation in northern Syria, the Turkish Hurriyet newspaper reported on Wednesday.
Moscow has spoken out against Turkey's operation in the Raqqa province, as the strategic M4 Highway passes through the area. Russia's criticism, alongside discussions between Ankara and Moscow, prompted Turkey to drop the preparations for an operation in the area, while Russia bolstered its military presence there, Hurriyet said.
Regardless, the newspaper - without citing any source - reported that Turkey's cross-border operation into Syria may kick off later this week, with Ankara continuing to amass troops near the border and into the Tell Rifaat and Manbij region.
In light of Turkey bolstering its military in Syria, the Syrian armed forces enforced its military points in Manbij, Qamishli, and Tell Rifaat in the face of Ankara's Euphrates Shield forces, Al Mayadeen's correspondent reported.
Russian aircraft maintained a presence in the airspace of the line of contact with the Turkish armed grounds in the northern countryside of Aleppo near the Menagh Military Airbase and Tell Rifaat.
In light of the Syrian forces' confrontations with the Turkish forces, Ankara's artillery shelled several villages in the northern Aleppo countryside.
Ahead of the Turkish shelling, a Russian military and security delegation met with the US-backed SDF leadership in the Hasakah governorate to discuss the Turkish threats to the Syrian areas on the borders with Turkey.
"We are concerned about new Turkish threats which pose a high risk on northern Syria. Any offensive will divide Syrians, create a new humanitarian crisis, and displace original inhabitants and IDPs," SDF chief Mazloum Abdi said Thursday on Twitter, noting that any new escalations would also negatively affect the organization's "campaign against ISIS."
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced on May 23 that the Turkish army intends to carry out military operations to "combat terrorism" at the Turkish state borders, explaining that his government "will start taking new steps to complete the safe zone 30 km north of Syria".
Erdogan spoke again last Wednesday of his goals in northern Syria, saying that Turkey will clear the areas of Tell Rifaat and Manbij in northern Syria from terrorists.
Erdogan's stance against the Kurdish fighters has also soured relations with Finland and Sweden, who have not yet received Turkey's approval to join the Atlantic Alliance because of their refusal to brand the PKK as a terrorist group. Erdogan is currently trying to pressure both countries into branding the PKK as terrorists in exchange for their accession to NATO.