The Turkish-led attack on the town of Ain Issa, which started early on December 18, has come to an end. The Syrian National Army (SNA) failed to make any gains due to the fierce resistance of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).
By December 19 morning, all clashes around Ain Issa, in the northern countryside of Raqqa, ended. Turkish forces have not shelled the town and its outskirts for the last few hours.
The attack claimed the lives of at least nine SNA militants. The SDF also sustained casualties, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
While Turkish forces failed to drive the SDF out of Ain Issa and its outskirts, their attack mounted real pressure on the Kurdish-led group.
Recent reports revealed that Russia is pressuring the SDF into handing over Ain Issa and other parts to northern Raqqa to Syrian government forces. The group was warned of a Turkish plan to occupy the region.
The SDF agreed to establish three joint observation posts with government forces around Ain Issa following Russia’s pressure. Nevertheless, it refused to hand the region over.
The last Turkish-led attack will likely push the SDF to comply with Russia’s demands, which are meant to protect Ain Issa and its residents. Turkish forces appear to be preparing to launch a second attack, not only in northern Raqqa but also in northern al-Hasakah.
Any new Turkish operation in northeastern Syria will threaten the already fragile humanitarian situation in the region.
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