Chaos is spreading through the Turkish-occupied part of northern Syria.
Late on July 7, a car bomb explosion rocked the town of Tell Abyad killing at least seven people. Pro-Turkish sources immediately accused the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) of plotting this attack. However, such claims seem quite shaky given the ongoing armed confrontations between various Turkish-backed groups all vying for control over limited resources in the Turkish-occupied part of Syria.
Just recently, Tell Abyad and Ras al-Ayn were the site of armed confrontations between Turkish proxies. It is likely that these same groups could employ IEDs, car bombs and night raids in their internal struggle while blaming their use on the YPG and even ISIS.
A new US convoy with weapons and equipment entered northeastern Syria from Iraq. According to the available data, the convoy consisted of at least 27 vehicles and proceeded to the US military base at Qasraq Tal Baider. On July 8, sources close to the YPG-led Syrian Democratic Forces reported that some of the weapons will, as always, be delivered to the Kurdish group.
The Syrian Army killed 3 ISIS members and detained 3 others in an operation against the terrorist group’s cells in the countryside of al-Sukhna in Homs province. Syrian state media claimed that the terrorists entered the government-controlled territory from the area of al-Tanf, which remains in the hands of the US-led coalition.
Syrian and Russian sources have consistently been accusing the US of indirectly and even directly assisting ISIS cells operating against the Syrian Army on the western bank of the Euphrates. According to them, Washington has been doing this to undermine the stability in the part of the country controlled by the Damascus government and to instigate a new armed conflict in central Syria.
Meanwhile, at least one member of the National Defense Forces (NDF) reportedly died in an IED explosion in southern Raqqa, where the NDF and the army are also conducting a security operation against ISIS cells.
On July 7, the Russian Military Police and the Turkish Army conducted another extended patrol along the M4 highway in southern Idlib. The patrol started near Saraqib and covered about 66km reaching Bidama in the western countryside of Jisr al-Shughur.
Turkey has apparently come to at least a partial understanding with al-Qaeda-linked groups in Greater Idlib. This has allowed it to facilitate the implementation of joint patrols in the framework of the March agreement with Russia.
Now, Ankara will likely make another attempt to rebrand various terrorist organizations operating in Idlib as the so-called moderate opposition and neutralize factions which do not support this initiative. In previous years, numerous efforts by the US, Turkey and other ‘supporters of Syrian democracy’ to do this have failed. However, this time Ankara has deployed its own armed forces in the area and the terrorist groups have been weakened by a long string of losses to the Syrian Army. So, the Erdogan government may really achieve this goal if it has enough time and the situation does not get out of control.