The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), Russia and the Syrian government have reached a preliminary understanding to establish three joint military observation posts in the vicinity and inside the Syrian town of Ain Issa, the Erbil-based news outlet Rudaw reported.
These observation posts will reportedly monitor the ceasefire and violations of the Turkish occupation in the region.
Ain Issa is currently controlled by the SDF. The town is located on the strategic M4 Highway that connects northeast Syria to the western part of the war-torn country.
It has increasingly been under attack from rebel groups backed by Ankara amid fears of a new Turkish offensive into the region.
Ankara views the SDF as an extension of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), a group designated as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the EU.
In October 2019, the Turkish military launched a major offensive against the SDF, dislodging them from two towns located very close to Ain Issa – Tel Abyad and Ras al-Ayn.
As local media sources report an escalation of Turkish bombing in the vicinity of Ain Issa, residents of these areas fear a new operation.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan raised the prospect of a fresh operation into northeastern Syria several times in October.
A source from Ain Issa Military Council told Rudaw that the threat of the Turkish military and Turkey-backed groups invading the town is imminent. The source said that Russian forces requested the SDF to hand over Ain Issa to the Damascus government. A Syrian government official said that this proposal was not accepted by the SDF.
Riyadh al-Khalaf, the military council leader for Tal Abyad, told Rudaw that the three joint observation points will be established in the town to “monitor the ceasefire.”