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Turkey attacks northern Syria again, injures six Syrian troops in defiance of concerns over threats to regional security

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
This aerial view shows Turkey-backed Syrian militants as they arrive to take part in a military exercise in the countryside of the northern city of Manbij, on June 2, 2022. (File photo by AFP)

Six Syrian troops have been injured near Tal Tamer town in al-Hasakah province, northern Syria, after the Turkish military bombarded the area with heavy artillery, according to local sources.

The sources said Turkey bombarded the village of Umm al-Kif in al-Hasakah and the electricity network of Tal Tamer, Lebanon’s Arabic-language al-Mayadeen television news network reported on Saturday.

They also said that that the attack caused significant damage to citizens’ property, harmed the electricity network, and cut off power in the district.

Turkey has been conducting several incursions against neighboring Syria’s northern parts since 2016 to target the Kurdish militants known as the People’s Protection Units (YPG).

Ankara associates the YPG with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has been fighting a separatist war against Turkey for decades.

So far, Turkey has deployed thousands of troops in the areas, in what Damascus has decried as an outright violation of its sovereignty.

Meanwhile, Moscow on Thursday advised Ankara against launching an offensive in northern Syria, saying such a move would be a “direct violation of Syria’s sovereignty and territorial integrity” and would “cause a further escalation of tensions in Syria.”

“We hope that Ankara will refrain from actions that could lead to a dangerous deterioration of the already difficult situation in Syria,” Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said in a statement on Thursday.

The statement came after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned to take yet “another step” to “clean up” northern Syria of the YPG militants.

Zakharova said, “We understand Turkey’s concerns about threats to national security emanating from the border regions” with Syria. However, the concerns could also be alleviated if the Syrian military were to be deployed to the areas, she added.

Washington has also warned Turkey against a military offensive in Syria, saying it would put the region at risk.

“It’s something that we would oppose,” US Secretary of State Antony Blinken told a joint news conference with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg on Wednesday.

“The concern that we have is that any new offensive would undermine regional stability [and] provide malign actors with opportunities to exploit instability,” Blinken said.

Erdogan said earlier that Turkey will not wait for Washington’s “permission” to launch a new military operation inside Syria, as he announced a new military operation to create a 30-kilometer “security zone” along the border.

“One cannot fight terrorism while waiting for the permission of whoever,” he told a group of journalists on Monday. “What will we do if the United States does not do its part in the fight against terrorism? We will get by on our own.”

For its part, the Syrian Foreign Ministry has written a letter to United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres and the UN Security Council protesting Turkey’s plans to establish the so-called safe zone on Syrian soil

Syria considers the move “a form of aggression against Damascus,” it said.

Iran has also voiced its opposition to Turkey’s offensives in Syria. Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said last Saturday the only way to assuage Turkey’s security concerns is through dialog.

The Islamic Republic is ready to help “prevent the escalation of the crisis and any conflict whose victims will be only defenseless civilians,” Khatibzadeh added.

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