A combat unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), operated by Turkish military forces, has reportedly launched an airstrike against a residential neighborhood in Syria’s northeastern province of Hasakah, in the aftermath of a cross-border incursion by Turkish army troops and their allied militants into the Arab country’s Kurdish-populated region.
Syria’s official news agency SANA reported that the drone fired a missile at al-Dardara village on the outskirts of the key border town of Ra’s al-Ayn on Sunday.
There were no immediate reports about possible casualties, and the extent of damage caused.
Separately, a landmine planted by the Turkish forces in al-Assadiya village went off, leaving several people injured.
The developments took place only a day after Syrian government troops retook the village of Um Shuaifeh, located near the border with Turkey, from Turkish military forces and their allied militants following intense clashes.
SANA said the battles involved heavy and medium weapons, noting that Syrian army soldiers finally managed to liberate the village and establish full control over it.
They forced Turkish forces and their allies to retreat towards the village of Mahmudiya, Syria’s official news agency said, without providing any information about possible casualties.
A correspondent and two cameramen for the state-run al-Ikhbariyah Syria television news network, identified as Fadel Hammad, Walid Ibrahim and Mohammed al-Khaled respectively, were injured by tank shell shrapnel during the coverage of the clashes.
On October 9, Turkish military forces and Ankara-backed militants launched a long-threatened cross-border invasion of northeastern Syria in a declared attempt to push militants affiliated with 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. The YPG constitutes the backbone of the Kurdish-dominated so-called Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).
On October 22, Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan signed a memorandum of understanding that asserted YPG militants must withdraw from the Turkish-controlled “safe zone” in northeastern Syria within 150 hours, after which Ankara and Moscow will run joint patrols around the area.
The announcement was made hours before a US-brokered five-day truce between Turkish and Kurdish-led forces was due to expire.