INTENSE clashes broke out on Saturday between Syrian Government troops and Turkish-led forces in north-east Syria, killing at least four Syrian soldiers, the country’s state media and an opposition war monitor reported. Turkey invaded north-east Syria last month to push out Syrian Kurdish fighters near the border. The Kurdish groups called in Syrian Government forces to halt Turkey’s advance.
Syrian Government forces have since clashed with Turkish troops and Turkey-backed Opposition fighters, despite a shaky truce brokered by Russia. A cameraman for state-run Syrian TV was among those wounded in Saturday’s clashes, according to both SANA and the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. The Observatory reported the deaths of four Syrian soldiers, and said a General and a paramedic were wounded. The Kurdish news agency Hawar said five government troops were killed and 26 wounded. SANA said the clashes involved heavy machine gun fire and occurred in the village of Um Shaifa near the town of Ras al-Ayn, which was captured by Turkish-led forces last month. It later reported that Government forces took the village from Turkey-backed Opposition fighters. The Free Burma Rangers, a humanitarian group active in north-east Syria, said four Syrian army soldiers were killed and seven were wounded, including a General.
It said they were killed and wounded north of the town of Tal Tamr, adding that the rangers and the Kurdish Red Crescent had evacuated some of the Syrian troops.