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Recap: Turkey Launches Claw-Sword Operation

A ground offensive by Turkey on Northeastern Syria could be imminent.
Recap: Turkey Launches Claw-Sword Operation

Following the terrorist attack on Istanbul last week, Turkey has launched a military operation on northern Syria targeting the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces. Turkey has accused the Kurdish Worker’s Party (PKK), and the People’s Protection Unit (PYG), which it says is the Syrian arm of the PKK, of being behind the attack. The PYD is a major component of the SDF.

Turkey Plans to Destroy “Terrorist Hideouts”

The pro-opposition Baladi News has reported that Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar said last Sunday that “terrorist hideouts were destroyed in the ‘Claw-Sword’ air operation in northern Syria and Iraq. Direct hits were achieved at the so-called headquarters of the PKK and the YPG terrorist organizations.”

The Turkish minister added that “the operation against the strongholds of terrorists in northern Syria and Iraq was meticulously planned, and all necessary measures were taken in order not to harm innocent people and the environment, like other operations of the Turkish Armed Forces.” “We are determined to rid our country and nation of the 40-year-old scourge of terrorism and we have the capacity to do so,” Akar said. In Damascus, a military source told government-owned SANA that several army personnel were “martyred” in Turkish attacks on Syrian territories in Aleppo’s northern countryside and Hasakeh countryside on Sunday at dawn.”

SANA’s reporter in Hassakeh said that the warplanes of the Turkish occupation have also targeted the sites southwest of al-Dirbasyia and in the vicinity of al-Malikiya and Tal Harmal village, north of Abu Rasen town in the northern countryside as a number of people were martyred, in addition to causing huge material damages to the houses.

SDF Retaliates

Baladi News also reported that three people were killed and others were injured, including two serious cases, on Monday morning in a missile strike by the SDF targeting the Turkish region of Karkamis, adjacent to the Syrian city of Jarabulus. Turkish media reported that five rocket-propelled grenades originating from Syrian territory landed in the Turkish border area of Karkamis. One of the missiles landed in an elementary school, killing three people, injuring others and damaging the school building.

Ground operation?

The pro-opposition al-Souria Net claims that the opposition Syrian National Army factions in the northern countryside of Aleppo have raised their full readiness in preparation for a “nearby ground offensive,” quoting a commander. Turkey is likely to begin a ground offensive against YPG areas of influence, complementing the air operation it began.

The leader, who asked not to be named, said on Monday: “At the moment, there is a cut off of vacations and raising maximum readiness.” “The current and immediate readiness includes all corps. There is a likelihood of an attack soon.”

SDF Asks U.S. to Intervene 

The pro-Kurdish North Press Agency has reported that the SDF Commander in Chief, Mazloum Abdi, demanded on Wednesday that U.S. President, Joe Biden, prevents the Turkish potential ground offensive against northeast Syria from occurring. In an interview with POLITICO, Abdi said that the Turkish cross-border operation would have devastating impacts and impede progress achieved in the fight against Islamic State Organization (ISIS).

The SDF Commander expressed his belief that Biden should live up to promises made during his presidential campaign not to betray the Kurds. He stressed the “political and humanitarian responsibility” to protect the Kurdish people and families of 12.000 martyrs, who died in defending the world against ISIS, is placed up on Biden’s shoulders. In his remarks, similar to these to al-Monitor, Abdi noted that the city of Kobani, northern Syria, is likely to be targeted along with Manbij and other areas where there are no US troops but Russians and soldiers of the Syrian government.

Earlier, the pro-opposition Syria TV said that the SDF informed the coalition forces of its decision to suspend joint military and security operations targeting ISIS.

SDF Leader Injured Transferred to Damascus for Treatment 

Baladi News has also claimed that the SDF transferred their commander, Rezan Kalo, who is close to its leader, Mazloum Abdi, and a member of his advisory team, to Damascus on Thursday morning. He will receive treatment after a Turkish drone targeted his car on Wednesday night in the center of Qamishli.
On Wednesday night, a Turkish drone targeted a small cargo vehicle carrying Rezan Kalo and his companion, seriously injuring him and killing his companion.
The Kurdish website Basnew quoted an unnamed medical source saying that “the targeting caused the amputation of the limbs of Kalo.” Urgent surgeries were performed before he was transferred through Qamishli airport to the Syrian capital, Damascus. On Wednesay, SDF commander Mazloum Abdi said that their door is open to the regime in Damascus, calling on regime forces to fight with them against Turkey.
Abdi said in a statement to local Kurdish media that “the position of the Syrian leadership is weak and unclear from the Turkish attack, and they must fight with our forces.” He added that “the political position of the Syrian state must be strong and clear” against what he called the “Turkish occupation .”

Will Ankara Turn to Damascus?

Russia has been claiming for weeks that rapprochement between Turkey and Syria is imminent. Recently, following the AStana 19 meeting, Lavrentiev has reiterated the promise of the restoration of ties between the two countries. Al-Souria Net has said, however, that Buthaina Shaaban, media advisor to Bashar al-Assad, commented on Turkish statements about political rapprochement between the two countries and the possibility of a meeting between Assad and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. In an interview on the regime’s al-Ekhbariya channel on Wednesday, Shaaban described the Turkish president’s remarks as “media that has nothing to do with reality.”
“We have been hearing these media statements for months. They are stating their own reasons. Whether they are electoral reasons, they are using them to pressure other countries or other parties,” she said. She considered that Turkey has “its agenda, but these statements have nothing to do with truth and reality.”
She pointed out that the regime does not trust “everything that they (Turks) issue in the media. There is nothing official except their media statements.”
Shaaban’s comment followed statements by the Turkish president about the possibility of meeting with Assad and that there is no “permanent rivalry in the world of politics.

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