On June 5, at least eight shells fired by the Turkish military and its proxies landed in the vicinity of a Russian post in the northern countryside of Syria’s Aleppo.
The post in question is located between the towns of Wahshiyah and Umm al-Qura, which are held by the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). The Russian Military Police established the post and several others in the SDF-held part of the northern Aleppo countryside a few years ago in order to monitor a de-escalation agreement. The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) is also present in the area.
The shelling didn’t result in any casualties or material losses. Yet, it represents a serious escalation by the Turkish military and its proxies.
Following the incident, the SAA deployed large reinforcements in the SDF-held part of the northern countryside of Aleppo.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that the reinforcements were deployed in the town of Tell Rifaat and the nearby Minaq Air Base. According to the London-based monitoring group, the reinforcements included battle tanks, infantry fighting vehicles, howitzers, rocket launchers and hundreds of troops.
The Turkish military and its proxies began preparing for a new operation against the SDF late on in May. Since then, they have been shelling towns and villages held by the group in northern and northeastern Syria. Six SAA soldiers were wounded as a result of recent artillery strikes on a village held by the SDF in the northern al-Hasakah countryside.
In a recent speech, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that the operation will target the SDF-held towns of Tell Rifaat and Manbij in the northern Aleppo countryside.
Despite Turkey’s provocations, Russian and Syrian forces appear to be determined to maintain a presence in SDF-held areas. This could hinder Ankara’s plans to launch a new operation against the group.