Over the past days, Syria’s northeast has been the main point of instability in the war-torn country.
On November 10, the Turkish-backed coalition of militant groups, the Syrian National Army, announced that it was resuming it offensive in the area. The group justified this move by claiming that the Kurdish People Protection Units and the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, which are the core of the so-called Syrian Democratic Forces, violate the safe-zone agreement reached by Ankara and Moscow. According to the Turkish version of the events, Kurdish rebels did not fully with draw from the border area and continued attacks on positions of Turkish-led forces and civilians.
Since November 9, pro-Turkish militants, backed by the Turkish Army, have carried out offensive actions in northeastern al-Hassakah. Especially intense clashes took place near the villages of Umm Sha’Fah, Daldarh, Tell Ward and Arab Khan. Turkish artillery strikes hit several targets between the towns of Tell Tamr and Ras al-Ayn. At least 5 Syrian Army soldiers were killed and 26 others were injured in the clashes. The casualties of the SDF remain unclear. Nonetheless, Turkish-led forces were not able to make any gains.
On November 9, 2 civilians were killed and five others were injured in a strike by Turkish combat drone on the village of al-Hishah, southeast of Ain Issa. Separately, pro-Kurdish sources claimed that a Turkish airstrike hit an ambulance near Tell Tamr. Pro-Turkish sources denounce such reports as fake news or claim that Kurdish rebels use civilian clothes and use civilians as human shields.
At the same time, the situation inside the Turkish-occupied part of Syria also remains unstable. Late on November 9, a series of airstrikes targeted an alleged ISIS headquarters in the vicinity of Kafra in northern Aleppo. Kafra is located in only 10km east of the stronghold of Turkish-backed forces – Azaz.
On November 10, a large blast rocked the town of Suluk, northern Raqqa, which was occupied by Turkish forces last month. According to reports, an explosion of car bomb injured or killed at least 7 people.
The ‘withdrawing’ US forces are increasing their presence across eastern Syria. Videos appeared online show that the US military has recently reinforced its contingent with Bradley infantry fighting vehicles. Mainstream media speculate that Abrams battle tanks will be deployed to reinforce key oil-rich areas later.
Idlib militant groups violated the ceasefire regime in the Greater Idlib de-escalation zone about 600 times in October, the Russian Foreign Ministry reported. On November 7 and 8, Syrian and Russian warplanes were bombing positions of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham and allied militant groups in northern Lattakia and southern Idlib. The strikes were aimed at deterring radicals that have been preparing for a new attack on Syrian Army south of the town of Kbani.