Middle East

Turkish forces launched fierce assault on key Syria town

Turkish military forces and allied militants have launched a fierce assault on a key town in Syria’s northern province of Raqqah, more than a month after they mounted a cross-border offensive to clear the region of YPG Kurdish militants.

Syria’s official news agency SANA reported that Turkish troops and their proxies attacked residential neighborhoods in Ayn Issa, located around 45 kilometers (30 miles) north of the provincial capital city of Raqqah, with artillery rounds, rockets and mortar shells on Saturday, causing heavy damage to citizens’ properties, public facilities as well as urban infrastructure. There were no immediate reports of possible casualties.

The so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, meanwhile, reported that the Kurdish-led SDF militants, whose ranks mainly include YPG fighters, “are trying to prevent Turkish forces and their Syrian proxies from advancing towards the town.”

Elsewhere in Syria’s northeastern province of Hasakah, local sources, requesting anonymity, told SANA that Turkish military forces are apparently establishing a new base on the outskirts of Ra’s al-Ayn city.
The sources noted that Turkish military engineering vehicles are flattening the terrain, and setting up bulwarks.

Local sources also said tens of families, dressed in outfits similar to members of Daesh Takfiri terrorist group, have settled in the southern sector of Ra’s al-Ayn.

On October 9, Turkish military forces and Ankara-backed militants launched a long-threatened cross-border invasion of northeastern Syria in a declared attempt to push YPG militants away from border areas.

Ankara views the US-backed YPG as a terrorist organization tied to the homegrown Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has been seeking an autonomous Kurdish region in Turkey since 1984.

On October 22, Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan signed a memorandum of understanding that asserted YPG militants must withdraw from the Turkish-controlled “safe zone” in northeastern Syria within 150 hours, after which Ankara and Moscow would run joint patrols around the area.

The announcement was made hours before a US-brokered five-day truce between Turkish and Kurdish-led forces was due to expire.

-fierce assault

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