Tensions between the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and Turkish forces continue to ramp up around the town of Ain Issa in northern Raqqa.
On December 5, the Turkish military and its proxies shelled Ain Issa and its outskirts with more than 150 artillery shells, according to the Hawar News Agency. The shelling, which lasted for eight hours, didn’t result in civilian casualties.
Nevertheless, a number of sources said that one to three fighters of the SDF were killed as a result of the shelling as well as minor clashes near Ain Issa.
Turkish forces intensified their attacks on Ain Issa in the last few months. A center of the Russian Military Police and a number of Syrian Arab Army positions are located in the region.
According to recent reports, Russia warned the U.S.-backed SDF over a nearing Turkish attack on Ain Issa. Russia allegedly asked the group to hand over the region to Syrian government forces in order to prevent the attack.
The SDF reportedly rejected Russia’s proposal. However, it reportedly showed willingness to play down its influence in the region in favor of Damascus.
A Turkish attack on Ain Issa will be a violation of Ankara’s agreements with both Russia and the U.S. Such an attack will also further complicate the humanitarian situation in northeastern Syria. Last year, a Turkish attack on the region left thousands civilians without shelter.
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