DAMASCUS, SYRIA (10:05 P.M.) – Light skirmishes and heavy artillery exchanges continued between Kurdish and Turkish belligerents in northwestern Aleppo on Wednesday amid reports of a looming Turkish invasion into the Efrin enclave, a rural pocket controlled by the US-backed ‘Syrian Democratic Forces’ (SDF).
With Turkish reconnaissance planes observing the region around the clock, the Turkish Army and allied Syrian rebel groups shelled Kurdish-led villages across the Bilbile district, targeting the SDF’s positions in a number of villages amid a constant flow of intelligence reports, satellite imagery and reconnaissance footage.
With some of the shells coming from inside Turkey itself, the SDF came under fire in the villages of Dikmedash, Maranaz, Ayn Daqna, Yazibax, Basufane, Bedirxan, Barin, Bashur and Iki Dame. At one point during the afternoon, the artillery bombardment could be heard going on for a straight 40 minutes.
The SDF responded by shelling Turkish-backed groups in the northern countryside of Aleppo but refrained from firing back across the border into Turkey.
Both sides have systematically refused to reveal any information regarding their death toll while no territorial changes have happened in the past few months.
Nevertheless, persistent rumours indicate that Ankara intends to deploys its military against Kurdish forces in the Efrin region in order to secure its own border and simultaneously link the rebel pocket in northern Aleppo with the opposition mainland in Idlib.
So far, this preplanned Turkish-led offensive is yet to come to fruition, likely due to political pressure from the United States and Russia, both of whom maintain ties to the SDF.