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Infighting among Turkish-backed factions in Syria leaves 1 dead, 5 injured: war monitor

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Clashes erupted between Turkish-backed rebel factions operating in the previously Kurdish-held northern Syrian town of Tal Talif near the Turkish border, leaving a senior fighter dead and injuring five others, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) reported on Wednesday.

According to the report, gunmen from Sultan Murad and a group of the Malek Shah division exchanged fire in fierce clashes in Tal Talif. The areas are under the control of the “Peace Spring” mission carried out by the Turkish Armed Forces in late 2019.

The senior fighter killed in the clashes was the brother of a commander of the Sultan Murad division, sources claim.

According to the war monitor’s sources, other factions have closed all entrances to the town so that they can prevent the two parties from bringing military reinforcements from Ras Al-Ain. Meanwhile, the reasons behind the clashes remain unknown.

On February 6, according to SOHR, a member of the Turkish-backed Al-Mu’tasim Division was killed in a fight with a group from the Al-Hamzah Division in a dispute over the seizure of civilian houses in northeastern Ras Al-Ain.

A commander of the Al-Hamzah Division from Deir Ezzor province had seized nearly 20 houses in the city. The dispute began when members of the Al-Mu’tasim Division asked that commander to give them some of the houses, SOHR sources say.

This development came amid other alleged violations against the residents and their properties by the Turkish army and the Turkish-backed factions.

Turkey launched Operation Peace Spring to clear the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), spearheaded by Kurdish militant group the People’s Protection Units (YPG), from its border in October 2019.

Ankara maintains that the YPG is indistinguishable from Turkey’s outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and was angered by US support for the group during the five-year-long campaign to defeat the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

Turkish army vehicle attacked by rebels in northwest Syria

Sources from the region have confirmed that a landmine exploded near a Turkish vehicle on Wednesday, as three armored vehicles were conducting a routine patrol on a highway in the Idlib countryside. No casualties have been reported so far.

A rebel organization named Al-Tali’a Al-Mujaheda claimed responsibility for the attack on the Turkish vehicle and published pictures showing the explosion.

Turkey keeps sending more military reinforcements to Syria

The number of Turkish military units that have entered Idlib since February has risen to 8,215, according to SOHR.

From February 2, 2020, to date, SOHR has monitored the entry of more than 11,715 trucks and military vehicles to the “de-escalation zone” established by Russia and Turkey in the Idlib countryside.

These reinforcements include tanks, personnel carriers, armored vehicles, mobile bulletproof guard booths and military radar.

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