VIDEO: Turkey shells border posts near Syria’s Manbij, kills army soldiers
Turkish military forces have shelled the positions of Syrian government troops and their allied fighters from popular defense groups in the country’s northwestern province of Aleppo, leaving several soldiers dead and injured.
An unnamed military source told Syria’s official news agency SANA that Turkish forces lobbed a barrage of artillery rounds and rockets at Syrian border guard posts near the city of Manbij, located only 40 kilometers from the Turkish border, on Thursday.
The source added that the projectiles caused deaths and injuries, without providing an exact figure.
The military source further described the Turkish aggression on the Syrian territory an attempt to stop the progress of Syrian army forces and allied fighters in the fight against terrorist organizations.
On August 24, the Turkish air force and special ground forces kicked off Operation Euphrates Shield inside Syria in a declared bid to support Free Syrian Army militants and rid the border area of Daesh terrorists and fighters from the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) and the Democratic Union Party (PYD).
The offensive was launched in coordination with the US-led military coalition, which has purportedly been fighting Daesh extremists since 2014.
The incursion was the first major Turkish military intervention in Syria, which drew strong condemnation from the Syrian government for violating the Arab country’s sovereignty.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on November 29 that the Turkish army marched into Syria to end the rule of President Bashar al-Assad.
The Turkish leader however backtracked on the comments two days later, asserting that the offensives there were aimed only at terrorists.
Syrian forces find militant tunnel near Damascus
Meanwhile, Syrian military forces have discovered a long tunnel used by foreign-sponsored militants during a mop-up operation on the outskirts of the capital Damascus.
Army soldiers and pro-government fighters from popular defense groups found the tunnel, which stretched as long as 300 meters, in the city of Harasta on the northeastern outskirts of Damascus on Thursday.
Al-Nusra Front (Jabhat Fateh al-Sham) terrorists apparently tried to use the 34-meter-deep tunnel to sneak into military sites in the area.
A military official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the tunnel had fans for ventilation purposes as well as small rooms for terrorists to take refuge. It was divided into several branches, with the first section extending as long as 43 meters. The second branch was 25 meters long.
Syrian soldiers and their allies then packed the tunnel with explosives, and blew it up.
Syria has been gripped by foreign-backed militancy since March 2011. United Nations Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura estimates that over 400,000 people have been killed in the conflict.