Syria deploys more troops to the north to reverse Turkish gains

The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) deployed more troops and weaponry to the northern Syria town of Tel Tamr on Thursday in a bid to reverse gains made in the area by Turkey-backed militias in recent days.

Turkish proxies attacked the Hasaka province town of Tel Tamr on Wednesday, taking control of a number of surrounding villages and displacing residents. In response, Damascus sent reinforcements to the town on Thursday and retook the villages.

Syrian troops had already been sent to Tel Tamr and to Syria-Turkey border areas following a deal made earlier this month between the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and Damascus to deploy SAA forces to fend off Turkey’s Operation Peace Spring.

Fresh clashes in Tel Tamr come days after two Turkish agreements – one with the US, one with Russia – expired, leading to the withdrawal of SDF forces from Syria-Turkey border areas, as confirmed by Russia.

On Thursday night, 18 Syrian soldiers captured close to the border town of Sari Kani (Ras al-Ayn) by Turkey-backed militiamen on Tuesday were handed over to Russian military police after Russia-Turkey discussions of hostage transfer. In footage captured by Rudaw, one of the soldiers thanked Russia for his release.