(Photo credit: AP)
A Turkish military base near the Bab al-Salama crossing north of Azaz, in the northern Aleppo countryside, was bombarded by missiles reportedly launched by the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) on 20 January, according to an Al-Mayadeen correspondent.
“The Turkish base near the Bab al-Salama crossing, north of the city of Azaz, was bombed with Grad missiles coming from the SDF areas,” the correspondent said.
He went on to say that a police station occupied by members of the Turkish-backed militant coalition, the Syrian National Army (SNA), was also bombarded, resulting in several injured people.
SDF also targeted the city of Marea south of Azaz with several Grad missiles.
Additionally, three fighters from the Northern Storm Brigade, a Turkish-backed extremist group within the SNA, were killed in internal clashes among the militant coalition, Al-Mayadeen’s correspondent said. According to the Syrian media outlet North Press Agency (NPA), quoting an exclusive source, a leader in the Northern Storm Brigade was killed in these clashes.
Internal quarrels among allied militant groups in Syria often resulted in large-scale clashes throughout the war. In October 2022, almost 60 militants were killed in a ten-day confrontation between Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) and other Turkish-backed militants.
Now, as the extremists step up attacks against Damascus in opposition to the Turkish reconciliation process, it is possible that the betrayal felt by the militants will result in even further demoralization and fighting among the opposition.
The Kurdish bombardment against the SNA and the Turkish base, on the other hand, represents the strong sense of anxiety and uncertainty felt by the SDF, as the group recently expressed fear that Ankara’s ground operation is still around the corner.
This fear was reinforced after the Turkish military bombardment and a significant escalation of tensions in Ain al-Arab and other areas across northern Syria, beginning on 13 January and persisting onwards.