Militants in the Syrian occupied city of al-Bab in northern Aleppo had been placed on high-alert upon orders from Turkey, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported on July 17.
“Checkpoints [in al-Bab] were reinforced and fortified, military readiness was also raised after a request by Turkish forces stationed there,” the London-based monitoring group said in its report.
In the last 24 hours, warplanes of the Russian Aerospace Forces (VKS) conducted several reconnaissance sorties over al-Bab for unknown reasons.
At least two airstrikes hit unknown targets in al-Bab’s city center late on July 15. Eleven people were injured. Opposition activists claimed that the unusual airstrikes were carried out by the VKS. However, there is no evidence supporting these accusations.
Al-Bab is occupied by the Turkish military, which maintains a fairly large presence in its vicinity. The city itself is ruled by a number of factions of the so-called Syrian National Army and a police service backed by Turkey.
The recent escalation in al-Bab is an indication of a growing tension between Turkey and Russia. Nevertheless, this will not likely lead to any military confrontation.