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Kurdish, pro-government & Iranian-backed forces set up joint operation room in Syria’s Aleppo

Kurdish, pro-government and Iranian-backed formations had established a joint operations room called the “North Thunderbolt” in Syria’s Aleppo to coordinate against Turkey, the Al-Monitor reported on June 19.

The operations room, which was established on May 25, is headquarters at a Russian base in the village of Hardatnin in the northern countryside of Aleppo.

The move came amid preparations by the Turkish military and its proxies to launched a new operation against the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). President Recent Tayyip Erdogan said in a recent speech that the main targets of the operation will be the towns of Tell Rifaat and Manbij.

 Source: (@Suriyakmaps) on Twitter, Via Google Maps – TerraMetrics.
Source: (@Suriyakmaps) on Twitter, Via Google Maps – TerraMetrics.

According to Al-Monitor, the operations room includes units from the Kurdish People’s Protection Units; the Iranian-backed Fatemiyoun; Lebanese Hezbollah; the Iranian-backed local formations in the Shiite towns of Nubl and al-Zahraa; pro-government formation from the towns of Abna al-Sahel, Hayyan, Haraytan, Anadan and Masakan; and the Baath Brigades.

Two Russian officers, three officers from Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, three Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) leaders and two leaders from the pro-government forces are reportedly present at the operations room, which commands some 600 fighters.

The North Thunderbolt operations room was established to coordinate military operation and secure the lines of withdrawal and supply for Kurdish forces in the event of a Turkish attack.

A high-ranking commander in the SDF told Al-Monitor that Iran pressured all sides to establish the operations room. According to the commander, Iran fears that a new Turkish operation in the northern countryside of Aleppo would threaten Shiites in Nubl and al-Zahraa.

“Meetings have been ongoing since the Turkish president announced preparations to launch a military operation in Syria. PKK leaders in Qandil began holding meetings with SDF leaders in order to pressure them to allow the regime and Iranian forces to enter their areas of control to deter opposition and Turkish forces. This is one of the reasons that led SDF leaders to declare that we will fight alongside the regime if Turkey attacks,” the unnamed commander added.

The joint operations room is only one of several steps being taken to deter Turkey. The Syrian Arab Army deployed large reinforcements in the northern Aleppo countryside in the last few weeks. Russian forces also increased their presence in the region.

Despite all these measures, Turkey appears to be determined to launch a new operation against the SDF. Russia has already warned that such a move will worsen the humanitarian situation in Syria and could lead to a confrontation between the Turkish and Syrian armies.

Source: South Front

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