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Syrian Army Pounding ISIS Cells In Homs Desert. Turkey Fortifies Positions Near Saraqib

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Syrian Army Pounding ISIS Cells In Homs Desert. Turkey Fortifies Positions Near Saraqib

The military situation in northwestern Syria is steadily escalating.

On April 10 and April 11, the Turkish Army and its proxies shelled positions of Kurdish armed groups in northern Aleppo. The most intense shelling took place near the areas of Tell Rifaat, Sheikh Hilal, Bosoufane, al-Malikiyah, Maraanaz, Kaft Anoun, Kasht’ar, al-Irshadiyah and Menagh Air Base.

On April 12, the Kurdish-led Afrin Liberation Forces announced that they had stricken a position of the Turkish Army near in the area of Sherava in the same part of Syria with an anti-tank guided missile. According to the Kurdish group, 3 Turkish soldiers were killed and 3 others were injured. 2 vehicles of Turkish forces were allegedly destroyed.

Both Turkish forces and Kurdish armed groups claim that their attacks are retaliatory strikes only and accuse each other of regular acts of aggression and terrorism.

The Russian Military Police is reportedly working to establish four new observation posts near the town of Tell Tamr in Syria’s northeast. According to local sources, Russian forces have already checked the area and are now preparing to establish permanent positions near al-Abush, Umm Kayf, Abu Rasin and Zirkan.

Kurdish sources claim that this move is a forced measure needed to put an end to regular ceasefire violations by the Turkish Army and its proxies. Despite these claims, the Turkish-Russian ceasefire deal on the operation of Turkey’s Operation Spring Shield still works successfully preventing a resumption of large-scale hostilities in the region.

In southern Idllib, the Turkish Army is fortifying its positions near the contact line with Syrian forces near the town of Saraqib. According to the Syrian Army, at least 50 Turkish vehicles entered the region of Greater Idlib on April 12 only. Pro-government sources describe such actions as a signal that the Turkish military is not planning to fight against al-Qaeda-linked militants in Idlib, but rather preparing for a new round of confrontation with the Syrian Armed Forces.

On April 11 and April 12, intense artillery duels between the Syrian Army and Turkish proxies were reported near the town of al-Bara in southern Idlib and Hdadah Hilltop in northern Lattakia. Later, Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (formerly the Syrian branch of al-Qaeda) claimed that its forces had repelled a Syrian Army attack in the vicinity of the town of Kafr Taa in western Aleppo. Militants claimed  that an officer of pro-government forces was killed. Pro-Damascus sources reported no notable clashes in the area, but such claims by Idlib armed groups are a useful signal of the current level of tensions in the region. Greater Idlib is steadily moving towards the resumption of full-scale military hostilities.

The Syrian Army and its allies fully repelled ISIS attacks near al-Sukhnah and Wadi al-Waer in the province of Homs killing two dozens of terrorists, according to pro-government sources. Clashes in the area broke out last week after ISIS cells conducted a large attack on positions of Syrian troops involved in a security operation in the area. Pro-militant sources claim that up to 40 Syrian soldiers were killed in the confrontation with the terrorists.

Currently, the army is deploying reinforcements to the countryside of al- Sukhnah. Most likely, government forces are planning to conduct a new security operation against ISIS cells hiding in the desert.

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