Translated by Ollie Richardson
Turkish troops and units of the Free Syrian Army continue their offensive in the Northern province of Aleppo.
However, over the past three days the shelling and bombing was not only on the positions of the Kurdish People’s Protection units (YPG) on the outskirts of Tell Rifaat, but also the settlements located West of the Kurdish Afrin Canton, near the border with Idlib province.
Despite the fact that the Western borders of the self-proclaimed Canton are not officially included in the operational framework of the Turkish operation “Euphrates Shield,” there is every reason to fear a possible invasion of Turkish troops into Syria from the Hatay area bordering the Syrian provinces of Aleppo and Idlib.
In the period from 19th to 23rd October, two batteries of Turkish self-propelled Firtina artillery (in Turkish — “Storm”) based near the settlements Kircaoglu and Yalangoz, launched a series of attacks on villages Baflore, of the Der Ballout, and Shaykh al-Hadid, located near the Syrian-Turkish border. Shelling of the Western borders of the Canton were made simultaneously with the bombing of the positions of the Kurdish militia in the South-Eastern sectors of the front.
According to various testimonies of Kurdish fighters, the Turkish Air Force prefer to strike at the militias immediately after successful YPG operations against militants of the Islamic State. The Kurds are forced to retreat from the occupied territories a few hours earlier, and the positions recently captured from ISIS are immediately occupied by the Turkomen battalions of the FSA.
The Turkish army and FSA troops rarely come into direct contact with ISIS terrorists. There is every reason to believe that the scheme of “rapid retreat” of terrorists in front of the advancing Turkish army, like in the assault of Jarablus, continues to operate, bringing the benefits for the objective for both the Turks and for the terrorists.
A particularly striking example of such “unsportsmanlike conduct” was the recent hours-long bombardment of the battalion of the Kurdish militias by four Turkish F-16’s half a kilometer South-West of the village Hassia.
Regular and rather massive shellings of peace settlements west of the canton became an obviously negative and disturbing addition to a pronounced “anti-Kurdish” vector of the last days of the “Euphrates Shield” operation.
During the shelling just for the last three days at least eight civilians (including three children) and more than 18 Kurdish militiamen, on duty at checkpoints near settlements were killed there.
In this regard, the Kurds began to be increasingly interested in Russia’s position on the Kurdish component of the Syrian conflict. In conversations with the correspondent of the Federal News Agency, local residents are asking direct questions of further cooperation of the Kurdish militia with the Russian Air Force. According to the many interlocutors of FAN, the help of the Russian army in the fight against the advancing troops of the FSA at the moment is sorely needed.
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