On June 11, the Turkish military and its proxies destroyed a key post of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in the village of Halwanji in the northern countryside of Syria’s Aleppo.
The Turkish military shelled the post, also known as the Syriatel hill, with artillery and mortars, while its proxies targeted it with a US-made TOW anti-tank guided missile. Turkish sources said that the strikes were a response to an attack by the SDF on Turkish-backed militants.
Halwanji is located to the north of the town of Manbij, a stronghold of the SDF. Manbij was one of two towns recently named by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan as the main targets for any new Turkish operation in Syria. The other town was Tell Rifaat which is also located in the northern Aleppo countryside.
The Turkish military and its proxies have been preparing for a large-scale operation against the SDF for nearly a month now. As a part of their preparations, they have been targeting SDF-held areas in northern and northeastern Syria on a daily basis.
On June 9, five people were wounded when a Turkish combat drone struck a warehouse of the Community Protection Units, a security branch of the SDF, in the town of al-Qamishli in the northern countryside of al-Hasakah.
The SDF has been preparing to face a new Turkish operation. While the group maintains major differences with Damascus, it may end up receiving some support from the Syrian Arab Army. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad hinted in a recent interview that the army could intervene in support of the group, despite criticizing it for acting as a pawn for foreign powers.
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