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The current state of affairs in northeastern Syria is bordering on the absurd.
In an unexpected twist, US-backed militants seized a shipment of US-made missiles that were en route to other militants also supported by America. The shipment included 2 TOW anti-tank guided missiles, 24 AK-type assault rifles, a designated marksman’s rifle, two gun tubes and ammo.
On March 28th, the Syrian Task Force, a joint force of the Turkish Police, Counterterrorism Unit and the National Syrian Army (SNA) took the weapons shipment.
Most SNA factions were once backed by the US, which supplied them with TOW ATGMs until late 2017. They are also currently and continually supported by Turkey.
Turkey said that the weapons consignment was seized because it was heading towards the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). The SDF is the most important US ally in Syria, but it is comprised of the PKK and YPG, whom Ankara deems as terrorist organizations.
US forces in Syria need all the support they can get, and as such they are delivering supplies to its presumed allies.
On March 27th, in addition to smuggling oil, a large US convoy smuggled 38 trucks of Syrian wheat from the Hasaka governorate into northern Iraq. Just days earlier, on March 25th, 18 more trucks with wheat were taken out of Syria.
In Hasaka, the SDF is carrying out its expansionist work, displacing home-owners in the vicinity of a helipad. The positions are to be used to counter the attacks and movements of Turkish-backed militants coming from Ras al-Ayn and Afrin.
And sure enough, Turkish forces, as well as militants backed by Ankara, renewed shelling on the Hasaka countryside. They shelled the two villages of al-Khashma and al-Dardara to the north of the town Tal Tamer on March 27th.
In response to Turkey’s shelling and attacks, the SDF carried out an operation towards Raqqa. As a result, eight Turkish-backed militants were either killed or wounded. According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, SDF fighters blew up a militant position near the town of Umm al-Manajir in the northern outskirts of the town of Ain Issa.
Still, even without the SDF attacking any positions, in Afrin the Turkish-backed militants continue fighting even amongst themselves. On March 27th, militants of the Hamza Division clashed with a group which recently defected from the division and joined the al-Sham Corps. At least 11 were either killed or injured.
Northern Syria appears to be in a perpetual state of chaos, with several sides attempting to steal away resources to forward their own interests. Turkey, the US, and the militants that they back are taking the chance to do so, since the Damascus government and Russian support are more focused on Greater Idlib, and the ISIS-infested central region.