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Syria Prepares For Military Confrontation With Turkey In Northeast

Published: July 4, 2020
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Source: south front

The Syrian Army and the National Defense Forces have put their forces on high alert in response to the new round of aggressive actions by the Turkish Army and its proxies in northeastern Syria.

Several convoys of government forces, including several T-62M battle tanks and a number of trucks equipped with heavy machine guns, deployed to the countryside of Ayn Issa after intense Turkish artillery strikes on positions of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces and the army near al-Nuyhat in northern al-Hasakah and Hushanah in northern Raqqah. Another group of government troops deployed near the town of Tell Tamr.

According to local sources, the recent Turkish strikes led to no casualties among civilians or military personnel. Nonetheless, regular Turkish attacks on these areas in fact turned a large part of the territory located relatively close to the Turkish-occupied area into a no man’s land. Syrian state media also reported that Turkey set up a new training camp for its proxies northwest of Tell Tamr.

While the chances of an open full-scale military confrontation in northeastern Syria between Turkey and the Syrian Army remain low, the military stalemate with regular ceasefire violations clearly does not contribute to any kind of peace process.

Meanwhile, the US troops, which the Trump administration had supposedly mostly withdrawn from Syria some time ago, have been expanding their military infrastructure there. Recently, they set up a new airfield approximately 8km south of the town of al-Ya’rubiyah in the province of al-Hasakah. Local sources report that US forces are actively deploying new equipment and materials there, building up barracks and erecting concrete barriers. Units of the Syrian Democratic Forces are also allegedly involved in securing the perimeter of the airfield.

At least one soldier was killed and 3 others injured in an attack by gunmen on a checkpoint in the town of Talfita in the western part of the Qalamun region, near the border with Lebanon. Following the attack, the army and security forces deployed additional units to the area in order to find and neutralize the attackers. Hezbollah is reportedly also involved.

Such attacks in Western Qalamun are an uncommon development due to the strict security measures employed. A previous notable incident of this kind happened in December 2019, when gunmen stormed an army checkpoint in the town of Rankos in Eastern Qalamun. Then, all the attackers were tracked and neutralized in a series of operations within a few weeks of the incident.

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