Turkish military forces have shelled two villages in Syria’s northwestern province of Aleppo, only a few days after Ankara dispatched military and logistical equipment to northern amid mass protests against the presence of Turkish troops in the conflict-plagued Arab country.
Beirut-based al-Mayadeen television news network, citing local sources, said Turkish forces fired heavy artillery rounds at Ain Digna and Bailounieh on Thursday.
There were no immediate reports about possible casualties and the extent of damage caused.
The development came amid reports that the Turkish military is poised to launch two new military operations in northern Syria.
Informed sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Russia’s RIA Novosti news agency that Turkish-backed militants are on high alert in northern Syria, and would involve themselves once troops start the onslaughts.
The sources described the Turkish military operations as preemptive, emphasizing they could begin at any time.
“An operation will be mounted in [Syria’s northern] Idlib province to support terrorist groups based there. Another operation will be launched in northeastern Syria against Kurdish militants,” the unnamed sources added.
The sources said the Turkish military operations would likely not begin before the forthcoming meeting between Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his US counterpart Joe Biden in Glasgow, Scotland, during the COP26 climate summit.
Syria’s official SANA news agency, citing local sources, reported on Wednesday that two convoys of 100 trucks each, carrying battle tanks, artillery batteries and logistical supplies, had crossed into Syrian territories through Khirbet al-Joz crossing, and headed towards Jabal al-Zawiya area in Syria’s northwestern province of Idlib.
The report added that the convoys were meant to fortify the positions of Turkish military forces in northwest Syria, and help militants fighting Syrian government troops.
Idlib is the last major stronghold of foreign-backed terrorists, especially Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) militant group, fighting against the legitimate government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Earlier, SANA reported that dozens of Turkish military trucks loaded with various ammunition and logistical supplies as well as armored personnel carriers entered Syrian territories on Tuesday.
Local sources added that the convoy later headed toward positions held by Turkish-backed militants in the city of Ras al-Ayn.
The sources noted that a large number of Turkish unmanned aerial vehicles flew overhead as military and logistical equipment were brought into Syria.
On Monday, residents of Kafr Naya town, north of Syria’s northwestern city of Aleppo, expressed strong resentment during a large rally to the deployment of Turkish troops and their allied Takfiri militants.
The participants waved national Syrian flags and condemned Turkish soldiers and their allies over attacks against residential buildings and civilian infrastructure.
They urged respect for Syria’s territorial integrity, stressing the need to confront attempts aimed at occupation and disintegration of the Syrian territory.
Turkey has deployed forces in Syria in violation of the Arab country’s territorial integrity.
Ankara-backed militants were deployed to northeastern Syria in October 2019 after Turkish military forces launched a cross-border invasion in a declared attempt to push fighters of the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) from border areas.
Ankara views the US-backed YPG as a terrorist organization tied to the homegrown Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has been seeking an autonomous Kurdish region in Turkey since 1984.
Turkey has played a major role in supporting militants in Syria ever since a major foreign-backed insurgency overtook the country more than ten years ago.
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and other senior officials have said the Damascus government will respond through all legitimate means available to the ongoing ground offensive by Turkish forces and allied militants in the northern part of the war-battered Arab country.
Iran’s Ambassador to the United Nations Majid Takht Ravanchi on Wednesday slammed the illegal presence of foreign forces in Syria, and demanded their immediate and unconditional withdrawal from the crisis-stricken country.
“Occupation of Syrian territories by foreign forces must end. All occupying and unwanted foreign forces must, therefore, leave the country without any preconditions or further delays,” he said at a UN Security Council session on Syria.