Ain Issa violent clashes | Turkish officer and five fighters of SDF and Turkish-backed factions killed in clashes and bombardment
SOHR activists have documented the death of a Turkish officer and three fighters of the Turkish-backed factions, while SDF lost two fighters due to bombardment and clashes between Syria Democratic Forces on one hand, and Turkish forces and their proxy factions on the other on the frontlines of Sayda village in Ain Issa countryside. Moreover, other combatants sustained various injuries, including Turkish soldiers.
Meanwhile, the Turkish-backed factions managed to advance into Sayda village, before they withdrew to Shrkerik silos and Tel Abyad city in Al-Raqqah countryside following the recovery of casualties from the conflict zones.
Reliable SOHR sources have reported that Turkish-backed factions and SDF brought in military reinforcement to the conflict zones, amid ongoing intensive bombardment. SOHR sources have also confirmed that the Russian forces has given the green light for SDF to counter and respond to the attacks by the Turkish forces and their proxies.
SOHR sources reported earlier this morning violent clashes on Sayda frontline in Ain Issa countryside in northern Al-Raqqah between Turkish forces and their proxy factions on one hand, and Syria Democratic Forces on the other, as a part of a violent attack by Turkish forces and their proxies on the village. The clashes were accompanied by intensive bombardment, amid confirmed reports of casualties on both sides and fatalities among the Turkish soldiers.
According to SOHR sources, the residents of Sayda and Mu’allaq villages in Ain Issa countryside were seen returning to their areas escorted by SDF and Russian forces, according to an agreement between the Russians and the Turks. However, Turkish forces and their proxies started to target the region with medium machineguns as soon as the residents arrived, which forced the residents to flee from the area, along with the withdrawal of the Russian forces. Fierce clashes erupted later and the Turkish forces and their proxy factions managed to advance into Sayda village.
On March 16, SOHR sources in the strategic area of Ain Issa in the northern countryside of Raqqa reported new hectic Turkish military movements near the town, where Turkish forces surrounded the town, which is the “capital” of the “Autonomous Administration” of north and north-east Syria, by establishing bases round it.
According to Syrian Observatory sources, the Turks were working on establishing a fifth base in that area, as military and logistical reinforcement were brought in to the area with the aim to establish a base opposite the village of Al-Debs on the western frontline of Ain Issa.
It is worth noting that Turkish forces are stationed in following four bases and they are as follows:
- The first one is located in front of Ain Issa town, near the camp.
- The second is located in front of Jahbal village in eastern Ain Issa.
- The third is located in front of the petrol station in the west of Ain Issa.
- The fourth is located before the petrol station in the west of Ain Issa
While the fifth base was being established opposite the village of Debs.
This development coincided with the escalating movements by the Russian and regime forces in the same region.
On March 12, the area of Ain Issa in the northern countryside of Al-Raqqah experienced unprecedented movements by all military powers there, as SOHR activists monitored the arrival of new reinforcement by regime forces to their bases in the 93rd Brigade in Ain Issa for the third consecutive day, including military vehicles, soldiers, weapons and ammunition.
Russian forces, however, conducted reconnaissance tours and sent military vehicles and soldiers to a military base, nearly four kilometres to the south of Ain Issa district. It is worth noting that this base had belonged to the International Coalition during its military operations against ISIS, then it was turned into a military academy of the Internal Security Forces “Asayish”, then regime forces stationed in it, before the Russians brought in military vehicles and soldiers in the past few hours and days. It is expected that the Russians will be stationed in this base.
On the other hand, Turkish forces continued their movements in the surrounding areas of Ain Issa, including the boosting of their positions and erecting soil barriers on a daily basis, as well as bringing in vehicles and reinforcement to their positions nearby Ain Issa. The latest Turkish movements in the region included erecting of soil barriers and bringing in vehicles and soldiers to the western frontlines of Ain Issa. However, it is not known if Turkey prepares to establish a new military base or these movements come as a part of routine reinforcement.
It is worth noting that Ain Issa district has strategic importance with its important junction linking between Aleppo and Al-Hasakah.