South Front

On October 31, the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) recaptured the villages of Abu Rasin, al-Manakh, al-Sibatiyah, Rajlah al-Hamrah and al-Qasimiyah from Turkish-backed militants in northeastern Syria.

Turkish-backed militant groups, backed up by the Turkish Army, seized these villages and several others on October 30. However, they appeared to be unable to keep control of all of them without a constant direct support from the Turkish Army.

Despite this, the military situation in the area remains tense and Turkish-led forces continue attempts to expand their zone of control. These attacks are likely attempts to exploit the existing contradictions between the SDF and the Syrian Army.

On October 30, the Syrian Defense Ministry released an official statement calling on SDF members to join the ranks of the army to counter the Turkish offensive and restore Syrian territorial integrity. The defense ministry also proposed SDF members to settle their legal situation, even those wanted for security reasons. The Syrian Interior Ministry released a similar statement, welcoming personnel of the SDF’s security forces, known as Asayish, into its ranks.

These statements faced a fierce resistance among the SDF leadership that claimed that it will not accept any deal that would not “recognize and preserve” the group’s “privacy and structure.” Mazloum Abdi, commander-in-chief of the SDF, claimed that these offers are “unwelcomed,” calling on Damascus to grant the SDF with a special status.

This behavior is apparently linked with actions of US forces that have recently increased their activity in northern Syria. A US military column was recently spotted in the village of Sreen, south of Kobani. Most likely, these actions are aimed at rescuing the crumbling US influence in the countryside of Raqqah, additionally to the already occupied oil fields in Deir Ezzor.

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