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Turkey Establishes Checkpoint Overlooking Damascus-Aleppo Highway

Turkey Establishes Checkpoint Overlooking Damascus-Aleppo Highway

Saturday, 16 January, 2021 - 07:45
Turkish military vehicles pass through Maaret al-Numan in Syria’s Idlib on Aug. 22, 2019 (AFP, Omar Haj Kadour)

Turkish forces plan to establish an observation post 200 meters from the Damascus-Aleppo international road on the northwestern outskirts of Saraqeb city, reliable sources said Friday, a few days after Iranian forces and their proxy militias redeployed in areas that were hit by a series of airstrikes in eastern Syria this week.

The sources said the new position would allow Turkish forces to overlook the strategic M5 road.

The new Turkish position would also be located in a region separating regime forces and opposition fighters in Idlib.

“Turkish forces withdrew to the back of the Damascus-Aleppo road, at a distance of 600 meters on the opposite side of Saraqeb city near the town of Afis, and started erecting earth mounds to establish the new military post in the eastern Idlib countryside,” the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights wrote.

On December 11, SOHR activists said that Turkish forces have established a new military post in Al-Wasata area, south of Al-Atarab in western Aleppo countryside, where vehicles, heavy weapons and trucks, as well as armored vehicles were deployed.

The new Turkish post is close to the frontlines with regime forces in the western Aleppo countryside.

According to SOHR data, Turkish posts in the “de-escalation zone” have reached 76.

Meanwhile, a new Turkish military column of nearly 20 vehicles carrying military and logistical supplies crossed Thursday into the Syrian territory, via the Kafr Lusin border crossing on the border with Iskenderun region in northern Idlib. The vehicles headed to the observation posts in Jabal Al-Zawiyah in southern Idlib.

The Observatory also said that factions operating under the banner of the Turkish-backed “National Army” agreed, a few days ago, on conducting joint patrols comprising members of all factions in areas controlled by “Euphrates Shield” and “Olive Branch” operations rooms in the Aleppo countryside in order to control the security situation in the area, as they claimed.

However, SOHR sources have confirmed that the factions’ plan to conduct joint security patrols have been frustrated because of the disagreements between “Sultan Murad Division” and “Al-Jabha Al-Shamiyyah”, which refuses to allow any military powers of the “National Army”, particularly “Sultan Murad”, to enter Azaz city.

Also, reliable sources have informed the Syrian Observatory that Turkish intelligence arrested the nephew of the commander of the “Sultan Murad Division” in the area of Hawar Kals at the Syrian-Turkish border in the northern countryside of Aleppo, after seizing four kilograms of narcotics in his possession.

In the Hasaka province, activists reported that the Internal Security Forces (Asayish) have prevented the entry of civilian vehicles and bicycles to the security zone in Al-Hasakah city since Thursday for unknown reasons.

They said members of the 4th Division and “General Intelligence Branch” continue clamping down on residents traveling between regime-held areas in Aleppo and the Kurdish-controlled neighborhoods of Sheikh Maqsoud and Al-Ashrafiyyah, along with the ongoing security tension in Al-Qamishli city between Asayish Forces and regime forces stationed in the security zone and checkpoints around the city.

In Deir Ezzor, SOHR sources have reported that Iranian-backed militias continue deploying troops and changing positions in Al-Mayadeen and Al-Bokamal cities, near the Syria-Iraq border, as well as other areas in the province’ countryside.

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