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Ahead of Lavrov Visit, Turkey Escalates in Syria’s Manbij, Tal Rifaat

Ahead of Lavrov Visit, Turkey Escalates in Syria’s Manbij, Tal Rifaat

Tuesday, 7 June, 2022 - 08:00
Members of the Syrian National Army during a maneuver on the Manbij border a few days ago (AFP)

Turkish forces and their allies in Syria have stepped up their bombardment of Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in the northern city of Manbij.

The escalation comes at a time Turkish military sources confirmed that the Syrian National Army (SNA) completed preparations for the potential military campaign announced by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Media outlets reported on Monday that Turkish-backed SNA factions have completed all their preparations and training. These factions now await the decision to launch the military operation targeting Manbij and Tal Rifaat in its first phase, according to unnamed sources.

According to the sources who spoke to Turkish media, leaders from the Turkish army and intelligence met with the leaders of SNA factions in the countryside of Aleppo. During the meeting, Turkish officers informed SNA factions of the final details of possible military operations.

The meeting took place in the Hawar Kilis Operations Room and in the presence of leaders from the armed forces, Turkish intelligence, and the SNA.

Moreover, the meeting was held two days before planned talks for Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and a Russian military delegation in Turkey.

Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov did not rule out that Lavrov may discuss Turkey’s possible military operation in Syria during his upcoming visit to Ankara.

“That this subject is likely to be discussed by the minister during his upcoming contacts can be presumed with a great deal of certainty,” he told journalists on Monday.

Responding to a request to comment on information that Russia and its allies in Syria had allegedly bolstered positions around several towns where Ankara’s operation is planned, the Kremlin official said: “I won’t comment, after all, you are talking about Syria’s sovereign territory, it is precisely the armed forces of this state that strengthen to varying degree various sites on their territory.”

Last Wednesday, Turkey’s Erdogan said that a possible military operation in northern Syria would target Manbij and Tal Rifaat.

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