Late on March 20, warplanes of the Turkish Air Force targeted posts of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in the outskirts of the town of Ain Issa in northern Raqqa.
The airstrikes came amid a heated battle between Turkish forces and the Kurdish-led group. The battle broke out two days ago following a series of attacks by Turkish-backed militants, who are attempting to reach the M4 highway. The strategic highway links Raqqa with al-Hasakah and Aleppo.
According to the Hawar News Agency, the Turkish airstrikes were carried out in support of a unit of militants that was ambushed by the SDF.
“The occupation and its mercenaries suffered heavy losses at the hands of our fighters, so they had to use warplanes to bomb the north of the district in order to recover the dead bodies [of their fighters],” Riad Khalaf, SDF commander in northern Raqqa, said.
As of March 21 morning, Turkish forces are still shelling Ain Issa and its vicinity. Clashes are also ongoing, mainly near the villages of Saida and Mu’alk.
Despite sustaining heavy losses, Turkish forces are not backing down. The militants may soon kick off a large-scale ground attack on the center of Ain Issa.
A full-on Turkish offensive on Ain Issa may result in a confrontation with the Syrian Arab Army that maintains several fortified posts around the town. The Russian Military Police are also present in the town.
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