Russian troops enter Syria’s Raqqa, filling void of withdrawing US forces | Eurasia Diary -

21 September, Monday

Russian troops enter Syria’s Raqqa, filling void of withdrawing US forces

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Russian military forces moved into Islamic State’s former de facto capital Raqqa in northeast Syria following an agreement with the local Syrian Democratic Forces to fill a void left by the hasty withdrawal of U.S. Special Forces from the area, Eurasia Diary reports citing Defense News.

The Russian Defense Ministry’s Zvezda TV showed Russian soldiers distributing humanitarian goods in the area on Monday, December 9, Reuters reported.

The deployment is the latest example of pro-Syrian government forces moving into key areas of Syria’s northeast, which the SDF backed by the U.S.-led Coalition against ISIS captured from the group starting in 2015.

The Coalition’s arming of the SDF, the core of which consists of the predominately-Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) militia, angered the Turkish government, which considers the YPG a terrorist organization.

Turkey launched its own military operation, dubbed Operation Peace Spring, across Syria’s northeastern border against the YPG on October 9, leading American forces to pull back to get out of the way. U.S. troops left key cities such as Manbij and Raqqa in recent weeks.

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