Middle East

Turkish forces, militants target villages in Syria’s Raqqah with artillery shells

Turkish military forces and allied militants have launched barrages of artillery shells at residential neighborhoods in the northern sector of Syria’s province of Raqqah.

Syria’s official news agency SANA, citing local sources, reported that Turkish troops and their proxies targeted buildings in villages on the outskirts of Ayn Issa town on Thursday afternoon, causing damage to public and private property.

There was no immediate report of casualties.

Turkey dispatches over 250 troops to northern Syria

Meanwhile, Turkey has dispatched more than 250 troops to Ayn Issa, as Ankara beefs up its military presence in the embattled region.

Turkey’s official Anadolu news agency, citing a commander of the Diyarbakir provincial gendarmerie command, said 258 soldiers were sent to the area.

On October 9, 2019, Turkey launched a cross-border invasion of northeastern Syria in an attempt to push Kurdish militants affiliated with the so-called People’s Protection Units (YPG) — which Ankara views as a terror outfit — away from its borders.

Two weeks later, Russia and Turkey signed a memorandum of understanding that forced the YPG militants to withdraw from the Turkish-controlled “safe zone” in northeastern Syria, after which Ankara and Moscow began joint patrols around the area.

Turkey has since wrested control of several areas in northern Syria in addition to other Kurdish-controlled areas.

Damascus views the Turkish military presence on Syrian soil as an attack on the Arab country’s sovereignty.

US-led coalition sends military, logistic vehicles to Dayr al-Zawr

Also on Thursday, a convoy consisting of vehicles laden with weapons, military equipment as well as logistic reinforcement, and belonging to the US-led military coalition arrived in Syria’s oil-rich eastern province of Dayr al-Zawr.

SANA reported that the convoy was deployed at the Koniko oil field.

The US first confirmed its looting of Syrian oil during a Senate hearing exchange between South Carolina Republican Senator Lindsey Graham and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in late July last year.

On July 30, 2020 and during his testimony to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Pompeo confirmed for the first time that an American oil company would begin work in northeastern Syria, which is controlled by militants from the so-called Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).

The Syrian government strongly condemned the agreement, saying that the deal was struck to plunder the country’s natural resources, including oil and gas, under the sponsorship and support of the administration of US President Donald Trump.

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