News   /   Syria

Turkish artillery strikes Syrian military positions in Idlib, no casualties reported

In this file picture, Turkish soldiers are seen in the Syrian border town of Ra’s al- Ayn, northeastern Syria. (Photo by DHA news agency)

A London-based war monitoring group says Turkish military units have hit the positions of Syrian government troops in the eastern part of the country’s northwestern province of Idlib with no immediate report of casualties.

The so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), citing reliable sources requesting anonymity, reported on Sunday that Turkish forces targeted Syrian military positions in the city of Saraqib.

The development took place shortly after Syrian government forces shelled positions of Turkish-backed militants in the mountainous Jabal Zawiya region of the same province.

Earlier in the day, Turkish-sponsored Takfiri militants had targeted the positions of Syrian army forces in a number of villages in southern Idlib, including Kansafra and Sufuhon.

Ankara has been providing support to militants operating to topple the Damascus government since early 2011.

Last year, Turkey seized control of the border town of Ra’s al-Ayn after it launched a cross-border invasion of northeastern Syria with the help of its allied armed groups to push Kurdish militants affiliated with the so-called People’s Protection Units (YPG) away from border areas.

Ankara views YPG as a terrorist organization tied to the homegrown Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

US forces block Russian patrol in northeast Syria

Separately, US military forces stopped a convoy of Russian troops as they were on patrol in Syria’s northeastern province of Hasakah.

The Russian patrol was intercepted and prevented from proceeding in the town of Rmelan on Saturday, according to the monitoring group.

Senior US officials have on occasions complained about Washington’s policies in Syria, arguing that the approaches of President Donald Trump’s administration have stuck American troops fighting a 'forgotten war' and guarding oil and gas resources there, while Russian troops are making advances and help the Damascus government recover after nearly a decade of militancy.

“It's a clusterf**k in Syria,” one top US intelligence official, who requested anonymity, told American weekly news magazine Newsweek last month, adding, “We don't have a strategy.”

Malcolm Nance, a former US Navy intelligence and counter-terrorism specialist, also compared the situation to another bloody quagmire for the Pentagon, and said the presence of US troops on the Syrian soil is a political game with little payoff.

“A few special forces supported by artillery and armor units are very much akin to 2002 in Afghanistan. It is now a forgotten war,” Nance said.

Moreover, Russian and Syrian joint coordination committees on the repatriation of Syrian refugees have denounced the presence of US troops on the Syrian soil, stating that such an illegal military deployment stokes new tensions in the Middle East.

The committees, in a statement released on September 3, cited the unlawful presence of US forces and militants affiliated with the so-called Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) as one of the serious matters of concern in northeastern part of the Arab country, Syria’s official news agency SANA reported at the time.

Press TV’s website can also be accessed at the following alternate addresses:

Press TV News Roku