Turkish airstrikes in Afrin kill 22 Kurdish Protection Unit members and France calls for an end to airstrikes in Syria
Field and local developments:
Late Thursday evening/ early Friday morning, around 22 members of the Kurdish People’s Protection Forces (PKK) were killed and a further 19 of their targets were destroyed by Turkish airstrikes in Afrin (43km north of Aleppo, Northern Syria). Simultaneously, new Turkish groups entered Syrian territory from the Kafr Lucin area, Northern Idlib, and headed towards the tow of Dara ‘Azza in the western Aleppo countryside. Local activists suspect that the new groups intend to strengthen the existing Turkish military checkpoints in the region, rather than to create new ones.
On Thursday leadership behind two factions, the “Salvation Front” and “Regiment 111,” who established The Al-Naser Army (“The Army of Victory”) along with ‘Souqour Al-Ghab’ (‘The Jungle Hawks’), decided to dissolve the army and return to working on previous figurations. The decision was given to the fact that the commander-in-chief exceeded the charter of independent decision-making’.
Mohammed Rashid, the media spokesman for The Army of Victory, told SMART that they are ‘a military institution coherent and not in any charges against the leaders’, and that their battles against the loyalist forces ‘will continue in the process of Defeat the Invaders’.
Also late Thursday evening/early Friday morning, the Islamic State seized control over three villages and a town in the area of Hamra (34 km northeast of Hama city), after battling with the Syrian government along the road of the southern countryside Idlib where the road is open for them.
In the Syrian capital of Damascus, the number of death in Arleen city has risen to 27 civilians, including 10 children and three women, as well as 100 injuries. These come as a result of a continued aerial bombardment consisting of 22 air raids by suspected loyalist forces warplanes.
Three people were killed and others injured by mortar shells and rocket-propelled grenades entering several Damascene neighbourhoods as well as the suburb of Harasta. The Free Syrian Army have denied responsibility for them, and accuse the Syrian government of launching it.
On Thursday a woman and girl were killed. 22 others from the Free Syrian Army (FSA) and civilian population were wounded by mortar shells fired by the Khalid Army at the village of Hamouriya, northwest Daraa. The Khalid Army is accused of being allied to the Islamic State. A man and a woman were killed by the FSA artillery shelling on the town of Sahm Golan.
Political and International developments:
According to France International Radio, on Friday the French Ministry of Defense called for an end to airstrikes in Syria, and the opening up of humanitarian corridors to deliver aid “as soon as possible”.
Alternately, the Pentagon described the International Coalition's attack on the positions of the Syrian loyalist forces in the Deir Ez-Zor province, Eastern Syria, which killed more that 100 loyalist forces’ members, as “confusing”. It further added that the attack was carried out for the purpose of self-defense.