Fierce clashes erupt between Syrian regime and Turkish troops

Fierce fighting erupts between Syrian regime and Turkish troops despite ceasefire
2 min read
09 November, 2019
The clashes occurred near Ras al-Ayn, controlled by Turkey since last month.
Several were injured in the fighting [AFP]
Intense fighting broke out on Saturday between Syrian regime troops and Turkish-led forces in northeastern Syria, Syrian state media and an opposition war monitor reported.

Several people were injured, including a cameraman for state-run Syrian TV, according to both SANA and the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR).

A Syrian major general and a colonel were also wounded, according to the SOHR and Kurdish news agency Hawar.

Turkey invaded northeast Syria last month in an attempt to push the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) south of the border region. Ankara considers the SDF's main constituent party, the People's Protection Units (YPG), as a terrorist group.

The Kurdish forces called in Syrian regime forces to halt Turkey's advance.

Despite a Russian-brokered truce between Damascus and Ankara, clashes between regime forces and Turkish and Turkish-backed fighters persist.

SANA reported clashes on Saturday involved heavy machine gun fire and occurred in the village of Um Shaifa near the town of Ras al-Ayn, which was captured by Turkish-led forces last month.

The SOHR added that regime forces later withdrew, leaving Kurdish fighters alone to face the attacks, which also involved Turkish drones.

 

Fighting between Turkey and Syrian Kurdish forces continues, with Ankara alleging the continued presence of SDF troops in areas it controls. Clashes have also been reported at the edges of Turkish-controlled territories, with the SDF claiming Turkish troops are exceeding their territorial bounds.

The Turkish defence ministry on Saturday said it had recorded eight violations or attacks carried out by Syrian Kurdish fighters in the last 24 hours, but mentioned no fighting with regime troops.

Last week, Turkish forces captured 18 Syrian regime soldiers in the area but set them free hours later following mediation by Russia.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu on Saturday slammed a US decision to send US troops to protect oil fields in eastern Syria, saying no one but Syria has rights over the country's reserves.

The US has said the move is aimed at preventing the  fields from falling into the hands of Islamic State group militants.

"To come from tens of thousands of miles away and to say we will put the country's wealth, oil reserves to use is against international law. And we oppose it," Cavusoglu said at the end of a regional economic cooperation meeting. 

"These belong to the Syrian people and should be used in a way that benefits the people of Syria."

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