Middle East

Russia, Assad regime continue pounding Turkmen Mountain

Russia aims to make Assad more powerful ahead of negotiations with opposition, Turkmen leader says

23.11.2015
Russia, Assad regime continue pounding Turkmen Mountain

ANKARA

The Assad regime, supported by Hezbollah and Iranian forces and Russia by the air and sea, continues to attack the Bayirbucak region, close to Turkish border, inhabited by Turkmen.

The intensification of the attacks in the last period shows that Russia aims to give more power to President Bashar al-Assad before sitting at the negotiation table with the opposition forces, in accordance with the conclusion of the Vienna talks last week.

Russia has also been attacking the Bayirbucak Turkmen region since Sept. 30, when it began an air ‘counterterrorism’ campaign in Syria.

Russia, known for 'coordinating' fighting in the region between regime forces and Turkmen units, intervenes in the situation by attacking Turkmen Mountain with missiles from warships in the Mediterranean.

Regime forces, supported by Russia’s air campaign, are staging a ground operation in the region.

The attacks began in the southeastern Gimam village while, for the last five days, Russian jets have intensively bombed Acisu, Firinlik and Red Mountain (Kizildag) regions in Bayirbucak.

Hezbollah and Iranian forces, fighting actively in the region for about two years, also support the operation. 

According to local sources, Gimam, Hill 45, Zuveyk village, Acisu intersection and the Red Mountain hill region have passed into the control of Assad regime forces.

- Turkmen Mountain

The head of Turkmen Parliament in Syria, Abdurrahman Mustafa, says that various motivations lay behind Russia’s rising attacks against Turkmen Mountain.

He said that in the short run, Russia’s aim is to give military superiority to the Assad regime, and to sit down as powerful as possible at the negotiation table.

“The Turkmen Mountain is a buffer zone in the coastal region,” Mustafa said, adding that it is a region that has remained between Antakya and “Latakia, which is Assad’s castle”.

He said that in the case of the Assad regime taking control of Turkmen Mountain it could then pose a threat to Turkey.

Mustafa said that Assad aims to include the strategic region of Turkmen Mountain inside the borders of the Nusrayi state.

Mustafa, speaking also about a possible Kurdish zone, said that the “fall of the Turkmen Mountain will provide an opportunity for Kurds to come to the Mediterranean shore”.

Mustafa said that the protection of the Turkmen presence in Bayirbucak region would also be an obstacle for the Kurdish zone.

Strategic importance of Bayirbucak

The Red Mountain, about five kilometers [just over three miles] from the Turkish border, has the strategic importance of being the highest peak in the region.

If the regime forces obtain full control of Red Mountain, they can attack 10 villages located in the region, with artillery.

Acisu region is another target of the regime forces. Acisu, the Red Mountain and Hill 45 in the south, have vital importance for the Syrian regime.

In the southern line, after the Gimam village, the Assad regime has taken control of Zuveyk village. By advancing in the Burcu’l Kasab region, the Assad regime forces can break up the connection between Turkmen Mountain and Cebel Ekrad, and besiege the Turkmen Mountain.

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