What is happening in Ain Issa?
Fighting continues between the SDF and Turkish state forces in the vicinity of the northern Syrian town of Ain Issa.
Turkey has intensified attacks on Ain Issa in northeastern Syria coinciding with the evacuation of its observation posts in Idlib. A few days ago, Russia proposed the handover of the city to the Syrian regime. This was rejected by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). As a result, the SDF reached an agreement with Russia and Damascus to establish three observation posts in the vicinity of Ain Issa. The bases host forces from the Russian military police, the SDF, and the Syrian regime.
Following the establishment of these observation posts, the Turkish state launched an all-out assault on Ain Issa early Friday morning. Although there had been no attacks at all during the night, Turkish-backed jihadists, the Turkish media, and Russian and Syrian sources have reported the capture of two villages. Even before the latest wave of attacks, a concentrated disinformation campaign had been launched. What is striking about this is that this campaign is led by accounts on social networks that are close to Russia and the Syrian regime.
Following this media campaign, Turkey’s jihadist mercenaries launched an all-out wave of attacks on the villages of Mişerfa and Celbê in the east of Ain Issa, the village of Seyda in the west of the city and the M4 highway at around 5:40 a.m. on Friday morning. The attack was supported by the Turkish army with tanks, howitzers and mortars. Throughout the day, reconnaissance and combat drones have flown over the area.
The SDF responded to the attack and fierce fighting ensued. Russian and Syrian forces, which maintain observation posts and bases in the area, have merely watched the fighting and direct attacks on civilians and have not intervened. An as-yet unknown number of people have been injured in the attacks. In Mişerfa, two civilians were buried under the rubble of a building.
The SDF was able to repel most of the attacks. According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), at least ten jihadists were killed in the fighting on Friday. Information from the SDF is not yet available.