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Regime, Opposition Raise Combat Readiness in N. Syria amid Russia's Preoccupation in Ukraine

Regime, Opposition Raise Combat Readiness in N. Syria amid Russia's Preoccupation in Ukraine

Friday, 15 April, 2022 - 08:30
Syrian artist Aziz al-Asmar paints a mural on the wall of a destroyed building in Idlib, Syria, 11 April 2022. (EPA)

Syrian armed opposition factions are stepping up military training on various types of weapons and combat with the aim of raising their level of offensive and defensive combat readiness, opposition military sources revealed.

Opposition fighters are training at bootcamps in the Idlib region and the countryside of Aleppo in northwest Syria.

Syrian regime forces have also staged similar military exercises in camps close to the contact lines in Idlib’s countryside. Regime fighters also trained on carrying out airdrops.

“As Russians boost their training of regime forces near contact lines, opposition factions correspondingly step up their training of existing and newly drafted fighters,” Col. Mustafa Bakour, a defected regime officer and leader of the “Jaysh al-Izza” faction told Asharq Al-Awsat.

Bakour revealed that the Russians were training regime soldiers on disembarking from helicopters. He said that such exercises suggest that they are preparing for a new military offensive.

“The current situation of cautious calm that has prevailed for two years on the frontlines and the cessation of military operations may at any moment turn into military confrontations between the opposition factions and the regime forces, which may lead to a change in the map of the areas of control,” he explained.

“All factions have repeatedly asserted their readiness to repel any aggression against the liberated areas in northern Syria by the Assad regime, Russians and Iranians,” he added.

Syrian activists reported on military changes in the positioning and deployment of regime forces and Iranian militias in several Syrian regions.

The highlight of these changes is the alteration of regime positions near contact lines with the opposition factions. It is believed that the regime’s position change comes in anticipation of the decline of the Russian role in Syria due to its preoccupation with the Ukrainian war.

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