Late on September 21, a Turkish combat drone carried out an airstrike on the village of al-Swaidiyah in the northern countryside of Syria’s Raqqa.
Al-Swaidiyah is held by the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). It is located to the east of the town of Ain Issa, the headquarters of the group’s Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria.
The SDF-affiliated Hawar News Agency said that the Turkish drone strike targeted a house in al-Swaidiyah, killing two civilians and wounding two others. Nevertheless, the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that the target of the strike was construction workers building fortifications for the SDF.
Turkey escalated its attacks on the SDF in the las few days. On September 16, a Turkish drone strike killed five SDF fighters near Ain Issa. Later on September 18, a series of airstrikes hit positions of the group and the Syrian government forces near the town of Kobane in the northeastern Aleppo countryside. Two soldiers and several SDF fighters were killed as a result of the airstrikes.
The Turkish military and its proxies have been preparing for a new operation against the SDF since last May. However, the political decision is yet to be taken by Ankara.
The recent Turkish strikes on northeastern Syria were likely just an attempt to deter and intimidate the SDF. Ankara may not go as far as launching a full-blown military operation against the group in order to avoid a direct confrontation with Syrian government forces and a backlash from Russia.