News Alerts

17 Oct 2019 | 12:06 PM UTC

Syria: Syrian and Russian forces enter Ain al-Arab October 16 /update 11

Syria News Alert

Syrian and Russian forces enter Ain al-Arab October 16; Turkey advances into Ras al-Ayn

TIMEFRAME expected from 10/16/2019, 12:00 AM until 10/19/2019, 11:59 PM (Asia/Damascus). COUNTRY/REGION Ain al-Arab, Tall Tamr, Ras Al-Ayn province, Tell Abiad, Manbij

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Event

Reports indicate that as of Wednesday, October 16, Syrian troops loyal to President Bachar al-Assad and Russian forces have entered the city of Ain al-Arab. Syrian troops also continue their deployment in Tall Tamr, with the aim to reach Raqqa.

As of Thursday, October 17, the Turkish army has reportedly made significant advances into the border town of Ras al-Ayn while controlling the city of Tal Abyad. Intensive airstrikes and ground fighting have been reported in both cities.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan has announced Turkey's aim to expel SDF combatants from Manbij, held by Syrian and Russian forces since Tuesday, October 15, and has excluded any cease-fire agreement with the Kurdish-led forces as of Wednesday. Diplomatic talks are expected to be held between US Vice President Mike Pence and Erdogan in Ankara on Thursday. Erdogan is also set to make an official visit to Russia to meet President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday, October 22. 

According to local NGOs, at least 300,000 people have been displaced since the start of Turkey's offensive on October 9. 

A heightened security presence and violent clashes between opposing security forces are to be expected throughout northeastern Syria over the coming days and weeks.

Context

On October 14, an agreement was made between the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and the Syrian government to deploy along the border with Turkey amid an ongoing Turkish offensive in northeastern Syria. 

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan announced on October 5, that Turkey will launch a military operation in northeastern Syria in an attempt to expel Syrian Kurdish (People's Protection Units; YPG) forces from the Turkish border. Erdoğan stated that the air and ground operations will extend 30 km (19 mi) into Syria's northeastern border. Turkey considers the YPG to be a terrorist organization linked to the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) group in Turkey.

The offensive comes days after US President Donald Trump announced a US military pullback in the region.

Advice

Due to extremely poor security conditions, Western governments generally advise against all travel to Syria, with some banning travel to the country. Professional security advice and support should be sought prior to any travel to Syria.

 

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