On March 18, clashes broke out between the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and the Turkish-backed Syrian National Army in the northern Aleppo countryside.
The clashes took place in the vicinity of the village of Tadef to the south of the town of al-Bab. This part of the northern Aleppo countryside has been occupied by Turkish forces since 2017. Now, Turkish-occupied areas surrounding al-Bab are referred by Turksih sources as the “Ephrata Shield” region.
According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, heavy machine guns were used in the clashes, which lasted for several hours. The SAA and Turkish forces also exchanged artillery fire.
“Regime forces shelled the factions’ areas of influence on the Hazwan axis in the countryside of al-Bab, north of Aleppo, the Turkish forces responded and shelled the posts of the regime forces,” the London-based monitoring group said in a report.
No casualties were reported as a result of the clashes, which reflect the fragility of the ceasefire in the northern Aleppo countryside.
Last month, several pro-government and opposition sources reported that the SAA is preparing to kick off a large-scale ground operation to liberate al-Bab. Back then, the army deployed large reinforcements south of al-Bab.
Any attack by the SAA and its allies on al-Bab will likely lead to a heated confrontation with the Turkish military. Hundreds of Turkish troops are known to be deployed in the outskirts of al-Bab and in nearby areas.
MORE ON THI STOPIC:
- Israel Is Coordinating Its Strikes On Damascus With Terrorists: Syrian Foreign Ministry
- Turkish-Backed Militants Commemorate ‘Syrian Revolution’ From Libya (Video)