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Foreign powers remain deeply involved in the Syrian war, despite the ongoing conflict in Ukraine. Recently there have been several military developments involving Russia, Turkey, Israel and the US in the war-torn country.
Russia continues to be the main foreign player in Syria. On July 6, this was demonstrated when warplanes of the Russian Aerospace Forces carried out a series of airstrikes on positions of the al-Qaeda-affiliated Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham and its allies in the northwestern region of Greater Idlib.
Ten airstrikes hit militant’s positions in the outskirts of the towns of Ruweiha, Beinin, Sarjah and Shnan in the southern countryside of Idlib. At least one militant was killed.
The airstrikes were likely a message to the Turkish military and its proxies who continue their preparations for a new operation against the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in northern and northeastern Syria.
On July 6, the Turkish military deployed an unknown number of T-155 Fırtına 155 mm self-propelled howitzers in the northern countryside of Aleppo. The howitzers entered the region through the Bab al-Salamah border crossing.
On the same day, the SDF’s Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria declared a “state of emergency”.
Turkey is still determined to go on with its military plans. The new operation against the SDF may begin after the end of the Islamic Eid al-Adha holiday on July 13.
Meanwhile, Israel remains active in Syria’s southern region. Also on July 6, a fighter of the National Defense Forces was killed as a result of an Israeli drone strike on the governorate of al-Quneitra.
The fighter, identified as Farid Fouad Mustafa, was carrying out regular tasks in the al-Hadi quarries, an area located to the west of the town of Hadar and right along the separation line with the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, when he was targeted by an Israeli drone.
The deadly drone strike on Hadar indicates that Israel is not only trying to step up its attacks on Syria, but also to diversify the means it uses to carry out such attacks.
The US has been also active in southern Syria, mainly in the area of al-Tanf where it maintains a large garrison. On July 6, the US-led coalition and its proxy, the Revolutionary Commando Army, announced that they had held a new joint live-fire exercise in the area.
The joint exercise saw US troops firing a number of precision-guided rockets from M142 HIMARS launchers.
The exercise was likely meant as a message to Russia, who recently increased its reconnaissance sorties over the al-Tanf garrison’s no-fly zone.
Despite the recent military developments, a conflict between foreign powers in Syria remains highly unlikely. All sides understand the risks of escalation.