February 3, 2021 Special Dispatch No. 9164

Russian Military Expert Valyuzhenich: The Introduction Of Russian Soldiers In Syria's Transeuphratia Is Intended As A Counterweight To Turkey That Covets Syria's Oilfields

February 3, 2021
Russia, Syria, Turkey | Special Dispatch No. 9164

Moskovsky Komsomolets correspondent Fyodor Danilchenko explored the motives behind the Russian decision to beef up its military presence in Syria's Transeuphratia, far from the main Russian facilities in Khmeimim and Tartus. For this purpose, Danilchenko interviewed military expert Alexey Valyuzhenich. According to the latter, Russia is preparing for the possibility that the Biden Administration, in an attempt to reconcile with the Iranians, will withdraw its contingent from Syria. This military contingent controls Syria's main oil producing area. America's Kurdish proteges are the beneficiaries of this oil income, and as a result resist negotiations with Assad. If the Americans again leave the Kurds in the lurch, Turkey will be tempted to seize the oilfields. To deter the Turks, Russia must establish a military presence comparable to Turkey's and this will ensure Turkey's further cooperation.

The article follows below:[1]

Russian reinforcements head for Qamishli (Source:

"VKS [Russian Aerospace Forces] cargo planes are transferring massive reinforcements to the Russian Armed Forces' military police in Syria's Al-Hasakah Governorate. This is illustrated by video and photo materials posted on the web. Earlier, the Syrian media also reported that convoys of Russian military vehicles and hardware are being sent to Al-Hasakah from the Khmeimim Air Base.

"Experts connect the buildup of the Russian military presence in Transeuphratia with the stepped up activity of Turkish troops in this region.

"The situation in Syria (where the civil war continues) may change dramatically in the near future. The United States Army still occupies a major part of a strategically important region of the country on the right bank of the Euphrates River. In this area bears the largest Syrian oilfields are located, which are currently being plundered under the protection of the American soldiers and sold on the black market.

"[However,] with advent to power of a new US administration and the appointment of President Joe Biden's proteges to key posts in the Pentagon, the situation in Syria may change significantly.

"A possible withdrawal of the US troops from Syria could change the situation in the entire region. Local Kurdish People’s Protection Units, supported by the United States, risk facing the Turkish threat on their own.

"The Turkish authorities have repeatedly stated their desire to free the region from the Kurdish militia. Turkish troops, including tanks and artillery, are concentrated near the country's border with Syria.

"Given the background of this alarming news, reinforcements of the Russian Armed Forces' military police began arriving in the region.

"Many [media] sources published videos from the city of Ayn Issa, Turkey’s main target in the region. Although the city is under the control of Kurdish forces, a network of observation posts is being deployed around it, in which Syrian government troops and Russian observers are stationed.

"Columns of military equipment and trucks are arriving in the region.

"A video shot in the city of Qamishli, where the largest air base in the region situated, also appeared on the Internet. According to the already published materials, over the past several weeks, several Ilyushin Il-76 military cargo aircraft landed at the airfield. Some of these cargo planes brought reinforcements and equipment for the [Russian] military police.

"Military expert Alexei Valyuzhenich in an interview with “MK” assessed the arrival of additional peacekeeping forces in the region. According to him, the redistribution of spheres of influence in Transeuphratia might begin in the near future, which can seriously change the situation in the country for the better.

"'Of course, it would be very naive to assume that the new American administration is non-confrontational and peace-loving. It’s not like that. But their methods differ from what Trump was aiming for. For example, the democratic administration of Obama reconciled with Iran. Trump canceled all these achievements, tightened the screws and made any deal with Iran impossible.

"'The Biden administration may try reconcile again and, as a gesture of goodwill, withdraw some troops from the Middle East region."

"– In the latter case, can the Turks try to replace the Americans?"

"– They would really like to do so. The events in Syria showed that the Americans sold the Kurds out more than once. Without American aid, they immediately lose their exuberance and blame everyone for their failures. Thus, the Kurds lost Afrin, lost the border territories with Turkey.

"The Kurds do not want to negotiate with Assad [Bashar al-Assad], because so far they have [military] protection and financial income from sales of oil. If these were gone, they will become much more accommodating.

"And only Russia is able to stop the Turks (not in the military sense, but exclusively through diplomatic means). But this requires a powerful military presence in the region, comparable to Turkey's. And it is growing now."

"– Does the local infrastructure provide for the maintenance of such a contingent away from our bases in Khmeimim and Tartus?"

"– The air base in Qamishli by its characteristics is not inferior to Khmeimim Air Base. During the course of the war Ilyushin Il-76 cargo planes of Syrian Air Forces landed there [with any problems].

"This air base can be considered a sort of contingency center of the local military forces. The base is located right by the Turkish border (this is certainly a minus), but so far, cooperation with Turkey has been beneficial… So, why not? Thus, the arrival of additional forces and their deployment in this region is more than justified. They are needed there more than anywhere else in Syria."

Qamishli airbase (Source:


[1], January 25, 2021.

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