Russian airstrikes target SNA militants in northern Syria
The strikes come as the SNA and FSA factions are involved in heavy clashes with the HTS extremist group
By News Desk - October 16 2022

(Photo credit: Reuters)

The Russian Air Force carried out five airstrikes in northern Syria on the morning of 16 October, sources reported, targeting positions belonging to the Turkish-backed factions of the Syrian National Army (SNA) rebel coalition.

The airstrikes targeted the outskirts of Kfarjana town in the Afrin countryside, which is currently under the control of SNA factions.

Russia’s strikes also targeted the Qatma village, located on the outskirts of Azaz. During the campaign, the Russian warplanes targeted a camp belonging to the Third Corps faction of the SNA.

According to an Al-Mayadeen correspondent, the airstrikes resulted in the deaths of two militants and injured dozens, with the number of casualties expected to rise.

Moscow’s bombing campaign against the SNA factions comes as the militant coalition, along with Turkish-backed factions of the Free Syrian Army (FSA), are embroiled in clashes with their foes and former allies in the Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) extremist group.

Tensions began to rise last week after the assassination of an activist critical of the Turkish occupation in Syria. After the failure of a ceasefire agreement reached on 14 October, the armed groups were once again at each other’s throats.

During the fighting, HTS captured the town of Afrin for the first time, despite allegedly withdrawing some of its forces later for relocation to Idlib.

The Russian strikes were likely carried out at this particular time to catch the militants off guard and take advantage of their infighting, which has been commonplace for years throughout the conflict.

In recent months, Russia has repeatedly launched bombing campaigns against Turkish-backed militant groups and other factions across northern Syria, including ISIS. Moscow has also attacked US-backed extremist groups operating within Washington’s al-Tanf base, southeast of the country.

On 17 September, Russia launched several airstrikes pummeling HTS positions in Syria’s northern Idlib governorate, killing 45 militants from the organization, among them leaders.

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