On April 21, clashes broke out in the city of Qamishly between the Kurdish Asayish, a security force of the Syrian Democratic Forces, and the pro-government National Defense Forces.
Local sources claim that NDF units tried to capture several Asayish positions in the city, but failed to do so. Both sides allegedly suffered no casualties. The situation de-escalated rapidly after the Russian Military Police deployed in a nearby area intervened .
On April 16, an Asayish checkpoint in the city was attacked with two hand grenades allegedly thrown by NDF members.
The current escalation is reportedly the result of disagreements between local NDF and Asayish commanders. Nonetheless, it should be noted that Qamishly city is infamous for regular clashes and tensions between the NDF and the SDF’s Asayish. The Kurdish group is trying to establish full control of the city and does not like the fact that the Damascus government has strong support there. In their turn NDF units seek to push back the creeping advance of the Kurdish force, which they see as a betrayer of Syrian national interests because of its open cooperation with foreign occupants – i.e.the United States.
The Russian Military Police and the Turkish Army held a limited joint patrol on the M4 highway in southern Idlib. From the Russian side the patrol involved two BTR-82A armoured personnel carriers and a Tiger armoured vehicle, while from the Turkish side four BMC Kirpi MRAPs took part. The movement of the Russian-Turkish convoy was monitored by unmanned aerial vehicles of the Russian Aerospace Forces.
This was the fifth limited Russian-Turkish patrol held in the framework of the Turkish-Russian Idlib agreement reached on March 5. The area of the patrols serves as a visual demonstration of the lack of progress made in the creation of the safe zone along the M4 highway in southern Idlib and in the removal of radical militants from it.
Later on the same day, the Syrian Army shelled positions of al-Qaeda-linked Hayat Tharir al-Sham near the village of Tell Afis, located near the government-controlled town of Saraqib. Pro-government sources say that militants are concentrating forces there in preparation of an advance to capture Saraqib.
Late on April 20, the Israeli Air Force carried out airstrikes on several supposedly Iranian targets in the province of Homs. Syrian Air Defence systems responded to the attack by intercepting several missiles. However, according to open data, at least 3 Syrian service members died as a result of the incident. So, at least some of the Israeli strikes hit their targets.
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*All posts on behalf of South Front are made by Gordon Duff