On October 14, an unidentified warplane, possibly a combat drone, carried out an airstrike on an area controlled by the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in northeastern Syria.
According to local sources, the airstrike hit a house located in the town of Hitash in the northern Raqqa countryside. No casualties were reported.
The airstrikes may have been carried out by the US-led coalition, whose warplanes hit hideouts of ISIS in northeastern Syria in the past, or by Turkey who increased its threats to the SDF in the last few weeks.
Last week, three Turkish service members were killed in the northern countryside of Aleppo in two separate attacks by Kurdish forces linked to the SDF.
During a speech marking the new academic year of National Defense University on October 15, Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said that Turkey will take all the necessary steps to protect its troops in Syria when the time comes.
“Whatever needs to protect and safeguard our rights and interests will be done at the right time and place … Let no one doubt it,” the Anadolu Agency quoted Akar as saying.
The London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights claimed in a newly-released report that Russia has given Turkey a green light to launch airstrikes on the SDF in northeastern Syria.
Any Turkish move against the SDF, even if it was limited to aerial operations, will further destabilize northeastern Syria. The region is already experiencing a humanitarian crisis and a surge in ISIS activities.