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An escalation could be brewing between Turkey and the Kurdish groups present in northern Syria’s Aleppo countryside.
On April 13th, the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) shot down a Turkish drone which was flying over their remaining territory south of occupied Afrin in northern Aleppo.
The drone, identified as a SERÇE-1, was shot down west of Tell Rifaat. It was equipped with an optical system and was used to carry out short-range reconnaissance.
On the next day, a second drone was shot down by the YPG near Tell Rifaat. This drone was reportedly dropping leaflets with a warning to the locals.
Additionally, Turkish-backed forces shelled the villages of Shawargha, Shawargha Castle and Ayn Dagna, north of Aleppo, causing material damage to public and private property.
Two days earlier, on April 12th, a child was killed in clashes that erupted between Turkey-backed forces and the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces in the area.
The reason for these clashes was the purported withdrawal of Russian forces from the area, and the quick preparation by Turkey and its proxies to attempt an offensive on Tell Rifaat, which they’ve been eyeing for a while now.
The “withdrawal” was a short-term move. The London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights claimed that the Syrian Arab Army and Iranian-backed forces had deployed reinforcements to the area. Meanwhile, the Russians had reportedly returned to their posts in Tell Rifaat. In hindsight, it was likely a maneuver to allow for its allied forces to be deployed with as little friction as possible.
Meanwhile, in Greater Idlib, chaos is also brewing.
Al-Qaeda-affiliated Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) and its allies continue to violate the ceasefire in the northwestern Syrian region.
On April 13th, HTS militants attacked Syrian Arab Army (SAA) troops near the town of al-Hakorh in northwestern Hama. Three officers were killed in the attack.
On April 14th, al-Fateh al-Mubeen militants shelled a number of SAA positions in the al-Akrad Mount in northern Lattakia. Casualties were also reported.
These violations were answered with SAA shelling of militant positions in southern Idlib.
In Syria’s northeast, the United States reportedly transferred 60 ISIS prisoners from Hasakah’s prison to the al-Omar oil field. In this area Turkish forces are regularly clashing with the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces.
The entire northern region of the Arab Republic seems to be on the brink of serious escalation.