Video: Turkey Continues To Deploy Battle Tanks, Other Military Equipment To Border With Syria
As Syrian government forces continue to bargain with the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) and local YPG allies over the control of the northern Syrian town of Manbij [Syrian army troops have not entered the town yet
], Turkey is deploying more and more military equipment on the border withthe country.
If the YPG and the Damascus government find no comprehensive political solution on the situation in Manbij, the situation may escalate rapidly in the Manbij countryside. Turkish-backed militant groups and the Turkish Army have concentrated a large force near the area and they are openly threatening to employ it against the YPG, which they concisder to be a terrorist group.
On December 29, a high-profile Turksih delegation is also visiting Moscow to negotiate on the situation in Syria.
Russian warplanes took off from Hmeimim airbase in western Syria and intercepted an Israeli spy plane, which was escorted by several fighter jets, off the coast of Lebanon in the morning of December 30, according to Syrian pro-government activists.
Observers confirmed that a Gulfstream G550 Nahshon-Shavit signal intelligence (SIGINT) plane of the Israeli Air force (IAF) was carrying out a reconnaissance mission over the international waters off the shores of Syria and Lebanon at the morning. Furthermore, a local source in the Syrian city of Tartus told SouthFront that Russian warplanes were seen heading towards Lebanese coast.
Israel and Russia have not confirmed the encounter so far. Some experts also doubted that Russian warplanes were on their way to intercept the Israeli SIGINT plane.
This was not the first time when news about Russia intercepted Israeli warplane near Lebanon appeared online. Last May, several reports said that a Russian Su-34 warplane intercepted Israeli F-16s over northern Lebanon
. Back then, local activists released a video showing the Su-30 over the northern Lebanese city of Tripoli.
The Ministry of Defense of Russia threatened to jam any unfriendly aerial object that would approach Syrian coast following the downing of the Russian Il-20 intelligence plane in September
. However, it remains unknown if the Russian Aerospace Forces intercept Israeli military planes near the coast.
The pro-Turkish media outlet, Suriye Gündemi, released an infographics showing factions of the Turkish-backed Syrian National Army (SNA). The SNA is a coalition of Turkish-backed groups created by Ankara in an attempt to centralize its control over proxies in Syria.
Graham: Withdrawal of US troops in Syria could lead to Kurdish deaths
Updated 1741 GMT (0141 HKT) December 30, 2018 Video / 1:40
Washington (CNN)Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham said on Sunday that withdrawing US troops
from Syria could directly result in the deaths of Kurdish people there and that he plans to make a case to President Donald Trump today to reconsider his plans.
"There are three things important for this country. Number one, make sure that ISIS never comes back in Syria," Graham said to CNN's Dana Bash on "State of the Union." "We need to keep our troops there. They're inside the ten-yard line in defeating ISIS, but we're not there yet. If we leave now, the Kurds are going to get slaughtered."
"How are you going to convince President Trump to do that?" Bash asked.
"I'm going to talk to him at lunch," Graham replied, referring to a lunch meeting he is set to have with Trump on Sunday.
"The President is reconsidering how we do this, he's frustrated," he added.
Trump's decision earlier this month to order his staff to execute the "full" and "rapid" withdrawal of US military from Syria was met with harsh criticism from both sides of the aisle. Hours after the announcement, Graham decried the move
as a "disaster" and "a stain on the honor of the United States."
On Sunday, he warned against the transfer of security in Syria from the US to Russian and Turkish forces
, a change that could leave the Syrian Kurds, whom the United States has assisted and armed, at risk from both ISIS and Turkey.
"I'm asking the President to make sure that we have troops there to protect us. Don't outsource our national security to some foreign power," Graham said. "If we leave now the Kurds will get in a fight with Turkey, they could get slaughtered. Who would help you in the future?"
"And this is something you're going to tell the President today?" Bash asked.
"Yeah, I'm going to ask the President to do something President Obama would never do: reconsider," Graham replied.
What led Trump to decide to pull US troops from Syria? The president must now come up with a new str
Published on Dec 30, 2018 / 5:48 National Security Analyst Walid Phares