Black smoke seen billowing from the northern Syrian city of Ras al-Ain during an attack launched by Turkish army as part of Operation Peace Spring on Oct. 10, 2019. (Xinhua/Mustafa Kaya)
Syrian army's move came after reaching an alleged deal with the Kurdish forces on entering the cities of Manbij and Ayn al-Arab, in order to strip Turkey of the pretext to attack Kurish-controlled areas in northern Syria.
DAMASCUS, Oct. 13 (Xinhua) -- The Syrian army on Sunday started moving toward the northern region to "confront the Turkish aggression on Syrian soil," state TV reported.
The report revealed no further details on the nature of the "confrontation," but it came shortly after the pan-Arab al-Mayadeen TV and the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) reported that the Syrian army would enter two key Kurdish areas in northern Syria within 48 hours.
The al-Mayadeen TV reported the Syrian army would enter the city of Manbij in the northeastern countryside of Aleppo in northern Syria as well as the city of Ayn al-Arab in the northern Aleppo countryside within 48 hours.
The SOHR said it has "confirmed information" that a deal was reached between the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and Russia about the entry of the Syrian army into Manbij and Ayn al-Arab, also known as Kobane.
A well-informed Kurdish source reached by Xinhua also confirmed that the Syrian army would assume control over Manbij and Ayn al-Arab, both are key Kurdish-held cities in northern Syria.
Apparently, the Syrian army's entry to the aforementioned areas came as part of the Syrian army's bid to strip Turkey of its pretext to attack Kurdish-controlled areas in northern Syria.
On Wednesday, Turkey started the military campaign in northern Syria in an attempt to eliminate the SDF and its umbrella, the People's Protection Units, which are both deemed by Ankara as separatists and terrorists.
The Turkish operation also aims to create a safe zone in northern Syria to resettle millions of Syrian refugees.
It came after the withdrawal of the U.S. forces from northern Syria, which was seen as a sign of abandoning the Kurdish forces that are considered as Washington's allies in fighting the Islamic State militants in Syria.
Syrian Foreign Ministry has issued two statements since the beginning of the Turkish operation, accusing Ankara of targeting residential areas and causing deaths of civilians while holding the Kurdish forces responsible for the Turkish military incursion.
The Kurdish forces had been advised to accept the entry of the Syrian forces and government institutions to the Kurdish-held areas in northern and northeastern Syria to strip Ankara of its pretext to launch a military assault in the northern region.
Earlier in the day, state news agency SANA reported that the Turkish army and allied Syrian rebel groups captured several areas in the countryside of Hasakah province in northeastern Syria and the countryside of the northern Raqqa province.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said earlier that the number of civilians who fled the battle zones in the area exceeded 100,000, warning that the situation there could be "fully catastrophic." ■