Tension In Northern Syria; Turkish Forces Kill 5 Protesters

Wednesday 3 July 2024 - 09:03

In the last two days, there has been intense conflict in northern Syria between angry protestors and the Turkish military. This was sparked by the killing of several Syrian refugees in Kayseri, Turkey. The clashes have resulted in multiple casualties and injuries.

Turkey is currently experiencing severe economic problems, with a 70% inflation rate. The presence of Syrian refugees has compounded the challenges faced by the Turkish government. Some Turkish citizens view the refugees as a significant issue and are calling for their expulsion from the country. Recently, there has been a noticeable rise in anti-immigration sentiment towards Syrian refugees, leading to attacks on the property and homes of the refugees in Turkish cities.

In recent weeks, there have been several attacks on Syrians in various Turkish cities. Syrian migrants’ shops, stores, and other property have been targeted.

Violence in Kayseri city has led to increased clashes, resulting in the death of two Syrian nationals and the destruction of Syrian property. People and militants in northern Syria retaliated against Turkish army forces and positions in northwestern Syria following the events in Kayseri.

Attack on the property of Syrian refugees in Kayseri

In parts of northwestern Syria, protestors held rallies where they burned Turkish flags and called for the removal of Turkish soldiers from Syria. The escalation of protests and violence in certain areas led to the Turkish military abandoning some military posts and withdrawing to Turkish territory.

Pulling down and tearing the Turkish flag at Salameh crossing in the north of Azaz

Over time, the conflicts expanded and tensions spread to all the northern regions of Syria.

In al-Bab city, protesters attacked Turkish trucks and set some of them on fire.

Protesters, with support from armed groups, attacked the Al-Rai and Bab al-Salamah crossings in northern Azaz. As a result, Turkish authorities have asked their civilian employees to leave northern Syria immediately and closed the Turkey-Syria border crossings.

Attacking the Turkish truck and setting it on fire

Turkish forces used tear gas and live ammunition to disperse the protesters who attacked the Turkish military post in the city of Atarb in the western outskirts of Aleppo.

The most violent clashes happened in the city of Afrin. Yesterday, some armed elements clashed with the Turkish-backed forces and Turkish army. It is said that 7 people were killed and more than 50 others were injured during the clashes.

Armed conflicts in the city of Afrin
A number of casualties of armed conflicts in the city of Afrin

In the city of Ibin Samaan Syrian protesters backed by armed groups surrounded a Turkish military outpost and forced a Turkish soldier to kiss the Free Syrian Army (FSA) flag. This video became controversial and Turkish authorities considered this a great insult to Turkey.

A Turkish soldier kisses the flag of the Free Syrian Army

Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the President of Turkey, recently expressed his support for establishing relations with the government of Damascus. These comments by Erdogan have caused frustration and anger among Syrian militants. Additionally, Turkish opposition groups are seeking to pressure Erdogan and the ruling party by seizing on this issue.

Holding meetings between the authorities of Damascus and Ankara and improving relations between the countries will likely harm Syrian militants and affect the relationship between Syrian militant groups and Turkey. In recent months, there have been several suspicious movements aimed at disrupting the improving relations between Turkey and Syria.

In any case, conflicts within Turkey involving Syrian immigrants and conflicts within Syria involving the Turkish army indicate a weakening or failure of Erdogan’s domestic and foreign policy. Erdogan must now promptly decide whether he is willing to acknowledge the sovereignty of the Syrian government over the entire territory of Syria after more than a decade of war and withdraw his troops from Syria, or if he intends to remain entangled in the endless cycle of military setbacks in Syria and the issue of Syrian refugees.

Originally posted on SouthFront

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