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The general state of chaos is spreading in northern Syria, with attacks in neighboring Iraq also being on the rise in recent days.
November 10th dawns with expectation for the long-anticipated Turkish operation in northeast Syria that never seems to come.
Military convoys of the Turkish-backed Ahrar al-Sharqiya group, one of the biggest factions of the so-called Syrian National Army (SNA) were spotted en route to al-Hasakah.
Militant deployments are also reported in the Ain Issa area in Raqqa governorate.
Reinforcements on the front lines are carried out under the pretext of joint exercises of the SNA and the Turkish Armed Forces.
However, the expectation of hostilities is getting to these militant factions, as fierce infighting broke out in the town of Afrin in Syria’s Aleppo governorate. Casualties were reported.
It is likely that the all Ankara-backed factions are on edge, expecting fighting to break out at any moment, and then all who are near the Kurdish areas of northeast Syria will have to participate, in one way or another.
Still the escalation is nowhere to be seen, as Ankara’s forces are giving their best to try and stir things up. On November 9th, a drone attack hit a car in the town of Qamishli in north-eastern Syria’s al-Hassakah governorate. Three people were killed, and there are rumors that the vehicle belonged to Mazloum Gilo, a commander of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). He was not one of the casualties.
The tension between the Kurdish groups and Turkey is also spilling into Iraq, as late on November 7, a rocket attack targeted a Turkish military base near the town of Zaylkan in Bashiqa district in the northern Iraqi province of Nineveh.
Ankara responded by sending its warplanes to attack alleged PKK positions in the Shladze area on November 8th.
On the following day, Turkish airstrikes hit northern Duhok province.
These attacks came shortly after an attempt to assassinate Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi in Baghdad with armed drones.
It is concerning for the local population that the operation against the Kurdish groups in northeastern Syria could also spill into Iraqi Kurdistan and cover a wider area.
Civilian populations and the environment have been severely impacted by the conflict. Thousands of acres of land have been scorched, and people’s houses and livestock have been hit. Several civilians have been killed and one family in Hirore is suffering from health problems following a suspected chemical attack.
No improvement in the situation in the region can be expected in the foreseeable future.
On the one hand, it seems that all parties involved into conflict have almost exhausted their local potentials, while on the other hand, the contradictions existing between them seem difficult to resolve peacefully.
As a result, it is unlikely to expect a pacification of the Middle East, and hence a reduction in the wave of refugees to Europe.