As Turkey is seeking to get a green-light from Russia to launch it’s latest military campaign in northern Syria, Turkish government media have recently claimed that Russian forces withdrew from the city of Tell Rifat, 40 km north of Aleppo, the first strategic military objective in any possible Turkish attack.
Syria-based North Press Agency, however, released videos that show continuing Russian presence in both Tell Rifat, and in Manbij, also a primary objective for the Turkish military.
The Turkish daily newspaper Hürriyet said:
“While Russian troops and forces of the Assad regime withdrew from Tell Rifat, currently under the control of YPG/PKK, there is uncertainty in Manbij. There are Russian troops in the city. They are expected to leave upon a deal reached between Turkey and Russia.”
Another daily paper Türkiye’s headline on Tuesday: “Russia evacuated its base in Tell Rifat”
The daily claimed that Russian troops withdrew to Aleppo.
The North Press Agency released three videos on Sunday and Monday, the first one showing a large Russian patrol entering the city of Tell Rifat.
It was reported that the patrol’s movement was accompanied by a flight of Russian helicopters in the same area.
Another video, released the next day, shows activity in Russia’s barracks in Tell Rifat.
A third video, also on Monday, shows Russian helicopters hovering over the city of Manbij, along contact lines between the area controlled by the Manbij Military Council and the area controlled by Turkish military’s proxies.
The Manbij Military Council (MMC) is a coalition established by several groups in the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), the armed force of the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria (AANES), functioning as the land force in the US-led international coalition’s operations against the Islamic State (ISIS).