Images purporting to show Russian military vehicles in the SDF-controlled Efrîn enclave in northern Syria were shared on Twitter on March 20.
Coordination between YPG and Russia in Efrîn canton. pic.twitter.com/9UQQnEoDsX
— Dr Partizan (@Dr_Partizan) March 20, 2017
We have not verified the location of the vehicles or when the images were captured, but the vehicles are Russian and they are flying Russian flags.
The Russian vehicles appear to be accompanied by local forces.
The Efrîn canton is an PYD-administered enclave of Rojava to the west of Manbij centred around Afrin town. The Arabic transliteration of the town’s name is Afrin, while the Kurdish version is Efrîn.
UPDATE: Russian forces to offer military training to Syrian Kurdish YPG as part of agreement – YPG spokesman
— Reuters World (@ReutersWorld) March 20, 2017
Some accounts claimed that an SDF/YPG/Russia coordination centre has been established, possibly in Qatmah, between FSA-controlled Azaz and Efrin town. Others claim that a coordination centre has been established in nearby Kafr Jana.
UPDATE The establishment of a Russian military base was confirmed by YPG commander Rêdûr Xelîl. The base will be in Jandaris.
The border crossing at Bab al-Salameh, just to the north of Azaz, is an important link between Turkey and Syria in the region. There are several IDP camps around Bab al-Salameh.
The latest images appeared three days after images of what appears to be a Russian military police vehicle in Syria were shared. The accounts posting the earlier images also claimed that the vehicles were in Efrîn canton.
Our Russian allies visited Efrin Canton today, reason is unknown pic.twitter.com/4sqCaFMUR4
— Thomas Oz (@ThomasOz_) March 17, 2017