Assad forces claim critical Turkmen holdout in Syria’s north

Assad regime forces claim back strategic Turkmen holdout in Turkmen mountain of northwestern Syria near Turkish border where Russian fighter jet has recently been downed

Photo by: AA
Photo by: AA

Turkmen families escaping from air attacks of Russian and Assad regime forces on Turkmen town of Bayirbucak in Latakia, arrive at the Yamadi camp near Turkey's Yayladagi border crossing of the Hatay province, in northwestern Syria on November 25, 2015.

Syrian regime forces have claimed back a strategic Turkmen holdout in the Kizildag area of the Turkmen mountain near Turkish border where a Russian warplane has recently been downed by the Turkish F-16s over an airspace violation.

The Kizildag area has recently been recaptured by Turkmen opposition fighters from the Assad regime units after Turkey downed a Russian-made aircraft in the same region on Nov. 24.

However, Turkey’s Anadolu Agency reported on Thursday that the regime forces reinforced by the Russians have kept bombing the area since Wednesday morning and have taken it over by advancing into the region with their armoured vehicles.

Meanwhile, heavy fights between the Turkmen fighters and Assad's forces have been going on around the surrounding areas in the Bayirbucak Turkmen region of northwestern Syria, media accounts have recounted.

At least 5,000 Syrian Turkmen were forced to evacuate their villages and flee to the Syrian-Turkish border last Friday night following an intense three day aerial bombardment by Russia on their villages supported by a ground assault of forces loyal to Syrian regime leader Bashar al Assad.

The assault targeted at least 14 Turkmen villages, resulting in civilian casualties, according to various media accounts.

The Russian intervention into the Syrian conflict began with a bombing campaign on the side of the Assad regime on Sept. 30, targeting mostly Syrian opposition-held territories in the country, rather than DAESH. The intervention has been strongly protested by the US, Turkey and the NATO alliance.

Turkey, which has historical and cultural ties with Syrian Turkmen communities going centuries back, has also strongly condemned the recent Russian bombardment of the area.

‘’We condemn the surging attacks on the Bayirbucak region where our Turkmen brothers live and these innocent people are constantly bombarded by air strikes, also by ground forces. Therefore, they started to flee towards our Syrian border,’’ Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Tuesday.

Erdogan claimed that the attacks on Bayirbucak actually targeted Turkmens instead of DAESH as there was no DAESH presence in that region saying that these attacks only aimed to strengthen the Assad regime.

‘’We have been supporting our kinship in that region all along and we will continue to do so,” Erdogan asserted.

TRTWorld and agencies