BEIRUT, LEBANON (4:10 P.M.) – The Russian military has officially withdrawn from the key town of Tal Rifa’at in the northern countryside of the Aleppo Governorate.
This move by the Russian military comes just a week after they conducted joint patrols with the Turkish armed forces in the Tal Rifa’at area.
Despite the Russian withdrawal, the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) has refused to leave the town; instead, they have beefed up their defenses around Tal Rifa’at and its neighboring villages.
Iran has also rejected Turkey’s demands of withdrawing from the predominately Shiite towns of Al-Zahra’a and Nubl in the northern countryside of the Aleppo Governorate.
Al-Zahra’a and Nubl both have a large presence of Hezbollah fighters, including several members from their Syrian branch.
Hezbollah deployed to Al-Zahra’a and Nubl during Jabhat Al-Nusra’s heavy attack on these two towns between 2012-2016.
While Iran and Turkey are allies, they each support a separate warring party in the Syrian Conflict.
Iran and Turkey have worked out deals in the past, like the Zabadani-Kafraya agreement; this called on the Syrian military/Hezbollah to halt their offensive at Madaya and Al-Zabadani in exchange for the jihadist rebels to halt their attacks on Kafraya and Al-Fou’aa.