Late on August 20, heavy clashes broke out between Turkish-backed militants in the occupied town of Ras al-Ain in the northern countryside of Syria’s al-Hasakah.
Militants from the local al-Hasakah Shield faction attacked tribal fighters from the al-Mualli tribe, which is allied to the Hamza Division. A disagreement on the management of Ras al-Ain’s border crossing with Turkey was behind the new conflict.
Earlier this week, Turkish authorities appointed Ahmad Bulat, the brother of Saif Abu Baker top leader of the Hamaz Division, as the manager of Ras al-Ain border crossing.
The decision led to a backlash from the local council of Ras al-Ain. The council suspended its work to protest against the appointment of Bulat, a militant from the northern Aleppo countryside, in the place of a local civilian.
“Three were killed and five were injured from both sides [in Ras al-Ain clashes],” the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said in a report.
The situation in Ras al-Ain is calm now. However, a new military confrontation could erupt at any moment as the issue of the crossing is yet to be resolved.
Turkey is working to assert its dominance over the areas occupied by its forces in northern and northeastern Syria. Contrary to its public statements, Ankara appears to be planning for a permanent military presence in Syria.