International media outlets are full of reports of various military moves in north and east Syria as a new Turkish military operation in the region is anticipated by all sides after a motion extending presidential authority to conduct cross-border operations in Syria and Iraq for another two years was passed in the Turkish parliament on 27 October, with the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) and pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP) voting against it.
Sputnik International reported on Monday without naming the source that a Turkish military operation could be launched on 2 November.
“Turkey and armed groups loyal to Ankara may start a military operation against the Arab-Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) alliance in Northern Syria on Tuesday, a source familiar with the matter said,” adding that “the operation will start from several directions, namely A’zaz and Tell Abyad.”
A’zaz is a city in north-west Syria, roughly 20 miles north-northwest of Aleppo, on the east of Afrin and north of Tall Rifat, a city housing a large population of Kurdish refugees who fled Afrin during the Turkish occupation. There are SDF as well as Russian military units in and around Tall Rifat.
Tell Abyad (Girê Spî) is a city in north Syria bordering Turkey’s southeastern town of Akçakale (Kaniya Xezalan).
Both A’zaz and Tell Abyad are under Turkey’s military control, A’zaz since 2017 and Tell Abyad since October 2019.
North Press Agency (NPA) recently published a report based on an interview with a senior official of the Syrian National Army (SNA), a proxy force for the Turkish military. In his statement, Youssef Hamoud, the spokesperson for the SNA, denied the news about the intention of the SNA to start a military operation in the north and northeastern regions of Syria.
In another interview by NPA, Joel Rayburn, the former US Special Envoy for Syria, said he expected that “there would be no large-scale Turkish attack on the Syrian Democratic Forces-held areas.”
“Washington is keen to avoid further security collapse in the region, while working to preclude any armed military clashes between the Turkish and American armies on Syrian territory,” Rayburn told the agency.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), on the other hand, reported that a large military reinforcement of Syrian forces arrived in Ayn Issa countryside in northern al-Raqqah.
There has also been a recent report on the presence of new arrived Russian helicopter gunships and fighter jets at an airbase in Syria’s northeastern city of Qamishlo.
Military Observer, a Telegram channel tracking global military operations, has published a satellite photo allegedly showing six helicopter gunships and a fighter jet at the airbase.