A heated battle between the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and Turkish forces is still ongoing near the town of Ain Issa in northern Raqqa.
The battle broke out on March 19 following a number of attacks by Turkish-backed militants on SDF positions around Ayn Issa and nearby villages.
On March 20, the SDF claimed that its fighters killed 18 Turkish-backed militants and injured 10 others around Ain Issa in the last three days. The Kurdish-led group also acknowledged that one of its fighters was killed and two others were injured.
An officer of the Turkish Armed Forces was also killed in the clashes, according to the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR).
SDF fighters in Ain Issa have been using anti-tank guided missiles. At least one Turkish armored vehicle was destroyed near the town.
Turkish forces are still shelling Ain Issa. A day earlier, a child lost his life and several other civilians were wounded as a result of the shelling on the town.
Several units of the Russian Military Police and the Syrian Arab Army are currently present near Ain Issa. However, they are not taking part in the battle. The SOHR claims that some Syrian units are now withdrawing.
Turkish forces are not attempting to storm Ain Issa. However, they are working to reach the M4 highway. The strategic highway links Raqqa with al-Hasakah to the east and Aleppo to the west.
The battle around Ain Issa will likely intensify in the upcoming few days. Both the SDF and Turkish forces do not seem to be willing to step back as for now.
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