A Turkish raid on a coalition base… and the US army: “a threat to common goals”
Turkey, Israel and Russia have launched raids on areas in Syria in recent days, a newspaper has confirmed Guardian The war, which has been going on for more than a decade, remains a conflict that could escalate on at least three fronts.
The past few days have been more stressful than ever for aircraft spotters, the newspaper said, as air forces from three countries swept over Syrian skies in the most all-out airstrikes in the past 3 years, bombing targets from the Mediterranean coast to the deserts of the east.
The bombardment began early Saturday when Israeli airstrikes targeted several locations along the Syrian coast and in the heart of Syria.
Explosions were heard in Latakia, as well as in the cities of Hama and Homs, where regime forces, with Russian and Iranian backing, were reestablishing their strongholds after 11 years of war.
Syrian officials said at least four soldiers were killed in the latest spate of Israeli strikes on Iran-linked targets widely believed to contain components for advanced weapons destined for Hezbollah in Lebanon, the newspaper said.
This was followed by Turkish airstrikes on Kurdish sites in north-eastern Syria on Sunday, before Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned of another ground attack on Kurdish areas designated by his government as new homes for up to a million Arab refugees, NGOs fear they will encounter an imminent exile.
Hours after his comments, Kurdish militants fired rockets across the border, killing at least two people and injuring 10 others in a Turkish border town.
The few remaining Russian planes in Syria later on Sunday and early Monday morning took to the skies, bombing rural areas of Idlib near the Turkish border and civilian sites near two refugee camps.
Russian planes have repeatedly attacked militant groups in areas beyond Damascus’ control, claiming they were supporting the militants. According to the Guardian, however, the attacks mainly hit civilian targets.
Local residents tell the newspaper that they can tell the older Russian and Syrian planes apart by the roar of their engines.
One of them, Mustafa Shabanda, an internally displaced Syrian in Idlib governorate, was quoted as saying, “Turkish planes are different. They appear out of nowhere and disappear at the same speed. But they don’t bother us. They are persecuting the Kurds.”
Shabanda adds: “As for the Israelis, I only heard them near Hama when they attacked Bashar’s army.” [الأسد] last year “.
Ankara linked the attacks to retaliation for a bomb attack in Istanbul that killed six people last week, blamed on the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
The airstrikes inside the Syrian province are seen as a precursor to a ground invasion that could attempt to link Turkish-held Jarabulus on the border with the town of Tell Abyad.
Incursions over the past three years have already cemented a Turkish foothold in the region and partially achieved Ankara’s goal of pushing the Kurds off the border.
Turkish officials have long viewed the PKK’s presence in northeastern Syria as the incubator for a four-decade-long insurgency and war with Kurdish rebels in southeastern Turkey who want an independent state.
dr Lina Al-Khatib, director of the Middle East and North Africa program at the Chatham House think tank, told the newspaper that the ongoing airstrikes by Turkey, Russia and Israel show regional interests are still at stake when all three Countries are targeting their opponents to prevent them from consolidating their influence in Syria.
“This is a reminder that the Syrian conflict is neither an isolated conflict nor a civil war in which the participants are only Syrians,” she added.
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