A suspected vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (VBIED) detonated in the border town of Al-Bab on Saturday, November 16. According to the Turkish Defense Ministry, at least 10 people were killed and 15 others wounded in the blast. Turkish officials blamed Kurdish YPG forces for the incident.
A heightened security presence is to be expected in Al-Bab and in northeastern Syria over the near term. Further such attacks, as well as clashes between opposing security forces, are possible in the region over the coming days and weeks.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan announced on October 5 that Ankara would launch a military operation in northeastern Syria in an attempt to expel Kurdish (YPG) forces from the Syrian-Turkish border. Erdoğan stated that the air and ground operations would extend 30 km (19 mi) into Syria from Syria's northeastern border with Turkey. Turkey considers the YPG to be a terrorist organization linked to the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) group.
On Tuesday, October 22, an agreement was reached between President Erdoğan and Russian President Vladimir Putin on the establishment of a "safe zone" in northern Syria. Between Wednesday, October 23, and Monday, October 28, Russian military police and Syrian border guards will move in to facilitate the removal of Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) forces and weapons to beyond the zone, which extends 29 km (18 mi) beyond the Turkish-Syrian border. After the initial phase of the operation, Turkish and Russian troops will conduct joint patrols in northern Syria within 10 km (6 mi) of the border, beginning on Tuesday, October 29.
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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