Turkish warplanes launched raids on Saturday night on an area controlled by Kurdish forces in northern Syria, the first in 17 months, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
The director of the observatory, Rami Abd al-Rahman, stated that these “are the first Turkish air strikes since Operation Peace Spring, which Ankara and pro-Syrian factions launched in October 2019 against the Syrian Democratic Forces in northern Syria.”
He added, “A Turkish warplane targeted military sites of the Syrian Democratic Forces in the village of Saida in the countryside of Ain Issa, north of Raqqa.”
Abdul Rahman said, “The clashes have been going on between the two sides for 24 hours (…) until now, the Turkish forces have failed to make progress, while the Syrian Democratic Forces have managed to destroy a Turkish tank.”
This process, which was halted after two agreements negotiated by Ankara with Washington and then with Moscow, allowed Turkey to control border areas with a length of about 120 km and a depth of 30 km. But Ain Issa and its environs remained in the hands of the Kurdish forces.
Ankara considers the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) an extension of the PKK, which Turkey and its allies classify as a “terrorist” organization.
Since 2016, Ankara has carried out three military operations to stop the regional expansion of the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) in northern Syria, targeting ISIS and Kurdish fighters.
Ankara took control of more than 2,000 square kilometers in northern Syria, especially the city of Afrin, one of the Kurdish Autonomous Administration regions declared in 2016.
And the Turkish military operations that targeted the People’s Protection Units (YPG) have strained relations between Ankara and some Western countries, especially the United States and France.