(Photo credit: Umit Bektasal/Reuters)
At least three people were killed and nine others injured on 24 August after a Turkish drone attack targeted a marketplace in the Kurdish-dominated town of Tal Rifaat, in the countryside of northern Aleppo.
The attack came just one day after Turkish-backed armed groups attacked the surroundings of Sheikh Issa town in northern Aleppo using a combat drone, with no reports of casualties.
Earlier in the week, the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) repelled a stealth assault carried out by mercenaries allied with Ankara in the outskirts of Ain Issa town in northern Raqqah.
Tal Rifaat is a key town due to its strategic location, stretched between Turkish and Syrian government forces. However, Russia’s military police occasionally patrol it, and Moscow maintains a military headquarters in the town.
Wednesday’s attack is the ninth time since July that Turkey targets joint SAA and SDF positions in the countryside of Aleppo, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR).
In early July, Damascus agreed with the SDF request to deploy heavy weapons to confront Turkish attacks in the countryside of Raqqa and Aleppo.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has pledged to initiate a military campaign into northern Syria, to create so-called ‘safe zones’ 30 kilometers deep along the border.
However, Moscow demanded Ankara hold back its decision to launch the military operation in Syria.
“We hope that Ankara will refrain from actions that could lead to a dangerous deterioration of the already difficult situation in Syria,” Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said in a statement on 2 June.
The Kurdish fighters of the Peoples’ Protection Units (YPG), backed by massive Russian air support, managed to capture Tal Rifaat in February 2016, while the Syria’s elite Republican Guard units and some Russian Forces entered the town at the end of March 2018.