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.
Protesters in Abeen Saman village in Aleppo countryside demanding to return to their homes that had been seized by the Turkish army a year ago.
They're asking the Turkish army to leave their homes, as they're homeless, were forced to set up tents nearby, hoping to get them back. pic.twitter.com/zBPtM4wWuj
— VdC-NsY Northern Syria (@vdcnsy) January 23, 2021
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.
#Breaking: a new group called Al-taliy’a al-mujahida or “the jihadi vanguard” claims attacking a Turkish vehicle during #Turkey– #Russia patrol on the M4 highway in #Idlib this morning. pic.twitter.com/MULSO5dr8a
— Orwa Ajjoub | عُروة (@OAjjoub) February 10, 2021
A rebel organization named Al-Tali’a Al-Mujaheda claimed responsibility for the attack on the Turkish vehicle and published pictures showing the explosion.
The Mujahid Vanguard organization targeted a military armored vehicle of the #Turkish army, during a joint patrol with the Russian forces on the #M4 international highway near the city of Jericho, south of #Idlib. https://t.co/sn65jFUk50
— خالد اسكيف (@khalediskef) February 10, 2021
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.