Assad’s forces attack Turkmen-populated region in northern Latakia

Syrian President Bashar al-Assadand’s armed forces have reportedly attacked Turkmen-populated areas in northern Latakia, where Bayir-Bucak Turkmens live. The town of Bucak is currently occupied by Assad regime forces.
According to the Syrian Observatory, the month-old Russian bombardment, which aimed to destroy Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) targets, has also targeted civilians, including Bayir-Bucak Turkmens. Russian jets destroyed a number of Turkmen shelters and ammunition stores in the Bayir-Bucak region in early November.
During a recent briefing to Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday, Russian Military chiefs reported that Russia has ground troops at two locations, the Tartous port the Russian navy leases from Syria and at an airstrip near Latakia, in western Syria, from where the Russian air force conducts strikes.
Moscow, which is conducting air strikes in Syria, has repeatedly said Russian troops are not taking part in ground operations. If the unit is part of the Russian military, it would mean Russian forces are operating well outside the zone where Moscow says its troops are present.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, when asked about the map, said: andquotIn Syria there is a technical contingent (of troops) linked with carrying out the Russian air force operation.andquot
andquotThere are no ground forces there and Russian soldiers are not carrying out a ground operation. The president has said that many times.andquot
Islamist militants are encircled by Syrian government forces in Mheen, according to Valery Gerasimov, the head of the Russian general staff, who was speaking during the briefing.


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