On July 31, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) announced that it had launched a large-scale security operation to root out Turkish spies from its areas of influence in northern and northeastern Syria.
In a statement, the Kurdish-led group said that the operation, codenamed “Oath,” was launched in response to recent Turkish drone strikes which claimed the lives of some its top military and security commanders.
The operation has been ongoing in the northern and southern countryside of al-Hasakah, the southeastern Deir Ezzor countryside, the northern Raqqa countryside and the northeastern countryside of Aleppo since last year.
“36 persons who worked as spies and agents [for the Turkish intelligence] have been arrested. Because we obtained a large amount of evidence and irrefutable documents that incriminate them, they had no choice but to admit their sins,” the SDF said in its statement.
The SDF said that some of the detained spies were behind the 19 August 2021 drone strike on the town of Tell Tamer in the northern al-Hasakah countryside, which claimed the lives of commanders Sawsan Berhat, Akid Karaki Lki and Renas Rouge, while others were responsible for the 23 July 2022 drone strike on the town of Kobane in the northeastern countryside of Aleppo that killed commanders Salwa Yusuf and Juanah Hisso.
The spies were allegedly handled by Turkish intelligence officers based in Turkish-occupied areas in northern and northeastern Syria as well as in southern Turkey. The SDF said that some of the handlers were “punished,” without elaboration.
The Turkish intelligence ramped up its activities in SDF-held areas in northern and northeastern Syria in the last few months in order to set the ground for a possible new military operation against the group.
Operation Oath is only one of several military and security measures the SDF took recently in response to Turkey’s repeated threats.
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