Turkey launches major operations in Ain Issa

The Turkish military has launched a series of artillery attacks and airstrikes against the Ain Issa town in Raqqa Governorate, northern Syria.

According to Turkey's Hurriyet Daily, the growing tensions in the city of Ain Issa, five kilometers south of the Turkish border, escalated on Monday as the Turkish army targeted the Syrian town through air raids and artillery attacks.

The attack came as the Kurdish fighters from the People's Protection Units (YPG) were trying to infiltrate the Peace Spring region – a stretch of border territory which Turkish troops and their allied militants seized in the so-called Peace Spring Operation last year.

Hurriyet also claimed that during the Monday operation, 20 Kurdish fighters were killed.

The Turkish Defense Ministry had earlier said that its military had killed at least 15 YPG fighters on Sunday amid reports that the group was planning to carry out an attack in a territory controlled by Ankara-backed occupying forces in northeastern Syria.

Hurriyet then wrote that Russia has been negotiating with the YPG for two weeks to hand over Ain Issa to the Syrian army, but the Kurds have not yet agreed to this request.

Yesterday, Syrian Kurdish sources told The Arab News that, contrary to media reports, they would not hand over "Ain Issa" to the Syrian army.

A deputy commander of Russian forces in Syria, also told Hurriyet that Russian troops had been deployed around Ain Issa and Russia had dispatched military equipment to the area in order to prevent further tensions in the region.

On October 9, 2019, Turkey launched a cross-border invasion of northeastern Syria in an attempt to push Kurdish militants affiliated with the YPG away from its borders.

Two weeks later, Russia and Turkey, signed a memorandum of understanding that forced the YPG militants to withdraw from the Turkish-controlled “safe zone” in northeastern Syria, after which Ankara and Moscow began joint patrols around the area.

Damascus views the Turkish military presence on Syrian soil as an attack on the country's sovereignty.

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