Turkish army troops have begun setting up a military base in Syria’s northeastern province of Hasakah, weeks after they launched a cross-border incursion, backed by allied militants, against members of the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG).
Syria’s official news agency SANA reported on Wednesday that the base is going to be established in al-Hawas village on the southern outskirts of the key border town of Ra’s al-Ayn.
The report came shortly after Turkish forces and their allies launched an offensive against al-Arishah village, and seized control of the territory.
The so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported on Tuesday that at least two civilians had lost their lives and seven others sustained gunshot wounds when Turkish military forces fired live rounds at a group of people, who were taking part in a protest against their presence in northern Syria.
The war monitoring group reported that Turkish troops, conducting a joint patrol near the mainly Kurdish town of Kobani (also called Ayn al-Arab), opened fire at local residents as the latter threw stones and shoes at them in an expression of burning rage.
Syrian army beefs up deployment along Turkey border
Furthermore, Syrian government troops have built up their deployment along the border with Turkey in order to prevent and confront any aggression by Turkish troops and their allied militants.
SANA reported that Damascus was sending troops to areas in the country’s northeastern Hasakah province, extending from al-Jawadiyah town to al-Malikiyah town. It did not give further details.
Syrian forces retake two Idlib villages from terrorists
In a separate development, SANA reported on Thursday that Syrian forces have established their control over the villages of al-Luaibdeh Gharbyia and Tal Khazna in southeastern countryside of Idlib after purging them of the last group of terrorists.
According to the report, Syrian forces retook the villages after intensive artillery and rocket attacks on gatherings and fortifications of Jabhat al-Nusra terrorists in the village of al-Luaibdeh Gharbyia.
Fierce clashes broke out between Syrian army units and the terrorist groups in the area before liberation of the aforementioned village, which was followed by the liberation of the nearby Tal Khazna village.
Turkish incursion displaces some 20,000 families
Meanwhile, Syria’s official news agency reported that approximately 20 thousand families have been displaced in northern Syria since early last month when Turkish forces and their mercenaries launched a military operation in the area.
On Thursday, Turkish soldiers and their allied militants fired barrages of rockets and mortar shells at the villages of Owaish, Dawodiya and Tal Tawil in countryside of Tal Tamr town, destroying a number of houses in the targeted areas. There were no immediate reports about possible casualties.
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 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. The YPG constitutes the backbone of the Kurdish-dominated so-called Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).
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 will 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.