TASS, October 22. Syrian army units have assumed positions along the highway connecting the cities of Al-Hasakah and Aleppo in north Syria, the Syrian SANA state news agency reported on Tuesday.
According to the agency, the troops are stationed on the 60 km strip along the highway reaching as far as administrative borders of the Raqqa Province.
On October 9, Turkey launched a military incursion into northern Syria, codenaming it Operation Peace Spring, with the Turkish Armed Forces and the Ankara-backed Free Syrian Army carrying it out. Erdogan’s military campaign kicked off with airstrikes on the positions of the previously US-backed Kurdish units. The Erdogan government claimed that its goal is to clear the border area of what it calls ‘terrorists’ (Turkey’s broad label of the Kurdish forces) and establish a 30 km-long buffer zone in Syria’s north, where over 3 million Syrian refugees in Turkey would resettle. Ankara’s incursion into Syria has triggered an outcry in the region and across the world. The Syrian SANA news agency branded the operation as an act of aggression, while the international community condemned Erdogan’s military operation.
On October 13, SANA reported that Damascus had struck a deal with Kurds and sent troops to north Syria to oppose the Turkish army. In the next few days, the Syrian army took control over a number of cities and towns in Kurdish regions without any fighting, including Al-Tabqah, Manbij, Raqqa and Kobane. On October 17, Syrian army units reached the Turkish border.