Syria and Russia have increased their troops in northern Syria in anticipation of a Turkish offensive, according to the Turkish-backed military alliance SNA. The Syrian regime has mobilized its armed forces and the Kurdish militia YPG has also received reinforcements, Major Youssef Hammoud, spokesman for the Turkey-backed Syrian National Army (SNA), told Reuters news agency.

The Turkish news agency Anadolu had already reported on Sunday that Russia had stationed more troops in northern Syria.

The background is an offensive announced by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan against Kurds along Turkey’s southern border. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced at the end of May that military action would begin soon. The aim is to create a 30-kilometre-wide zone to combat terrorist threats from the region.

The Syrian government has not yet confirmed that it will increase its troops. However, the pro-government newspaper al-Watan reported that Syrian troops, tanks and heavy weapons were sighted in the border region over the weekend.