Turkish military forces have reportedly accommodated more than a thousand members of families of allied Takfiri militants in residential buildings in Syria’s northeastern province of al-Hasakah in the aftermath of a cross-border incursion against militants of the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG).
Informed sources, requesting anonymity, told Syria’s official news agency SANA on Monday that 1,500 militant family members have squatted houses in the al-Kharabat and al-Hawarna neighborhoods of the key border town of Ra’s al-Ayn in the province.
The development took place after Turkish-backed militants fired a barrage of artillery rounds and rocket shells at civilian buildings in Umm al-Keif village, also known as Timar, in the western flank of Hasakah province back on January 12 in an apparent effort to drive out the civilian population in order to pave the way for militants’ families to move in.
SANA reported at the time that the projectiles had caused material damage to houses and private property in the target area, but did not say whether there were any casualties as a result.
The report added that Syrian government forces identified the origin of the attack, and destroyed the terrorists’ launching pads in response.
On October 9 last year, 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, 2019, Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan signed a memorandum of understanding that asserted YPG militants had to 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.