Seven Syrian soldiers killed in clashes with Turkish forces, allies near Ra's al-Ayn: Observatory
Iran Press TV
Tue Oct 29, 2019 06:36PM
The so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says at least seven Syrian army soldiers have been killed when fierce exchanges of gunfire broke out between government troops and Turkish military forces and their allied militants near Syria's key northeastern border town of Ra's al-Ayn.
The Britain-based war monitor reported on Tuesday that "heavy fighting erupted for the first time between the Syrian army on one side and Turkish forces and their proxies on the other," adding that seven Syrian soldiers were killed and 14 others injured in the process.
The Observatory said Turkish-backed militants, under the cover of heavy and violent Turkish fire power and backed by Turkish unmanned aerial vehicles, engaged in skirmishes with Syrian army troops in the areas of al-Arishah, Bab al-Khair and Um Oshbah.
The development came only two days after a similar encounter near Ra's al-Ayn.
Syria's official news agency SANA reported the fighting on Sunday afternoon, saying that the clashes took place after the area came under attack from the Turkish side.
Three days earlier, Turkish forces and their allies had attacked Syrian government troops in northeastern Syria.
SANA said the allies attacked Syrian army positions outside the town of Tal Tamr.
Syrian army forces continue deployment along border with Turkey
Meanwhile, Syrian army units on Tuesday were deployed to new areas along the border with Turkey.
The army units entered the village of al-Qarmaniya in Syria's northeastern province of Hasakah, and set up their posts there.
On October 22, Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, signed a memorandum of understanding, where they asserted that YPG militants must withdraw from the Turkish-controlled "safe zone" in northeastern Syria within 150 hours, after which period Ankara and Moscow will run joint patrols around the area.
The announcement was made hours before a US-brokered five-day truce between Turkish and Kurdish-led forces was due to expire.
On October 9, Turkish military forces and Ankara-backed militants launched a long-threatened cross-border invasion of northeastern Syria in a declared attempt to push militants from the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) away from border areas.
Ankara views the US-backed YPG as a terrorist organization tied to the homegrown Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which has been seeking an autonomous Kurdish region in Turkey since 1984. The YPG constitutes the backbone of the Kurdish-dominated Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).
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