Turkey-led forces unleash huge artillery attack on SDF positions in Afrin, Aleppo

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BEIRUT, LEBANON (9:45 A.M.) – During the latest hours of Monday night and lasting into the earliest hours on Tuesday morning, Turkey-led forces – backed by fire support assets of the Turkish Army (i.e. artillery) – began a saturation bombardment of positions belonging to the Kurdish-dominated Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in the Afrin region.

The bombardment took place along a twenty kilometre contact line running from Mount Bersaya (near the town of Qastal) in the north to the town of Malikiyah (near Menagh Airbase) in the south.

Targeted in-between these two ends of the contact line were SDF positions directly to the west of the strategic rebel-held town of Azaz and the SDF-held villages of Mernaz and Qestel Sindo (which are also near Azaz).

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It appears that the Turkish Army has employed some of the heaviest artillery systems available in its inventory for this attack, including the T-155 Firtina heavy self-propelled howitzer and T-122 Sakarya multiple-launch rocket system (which can be heard and seen in the video below).

If Turkey-led forces really do plan to commit to a ground assault against SDF militants in Afrin, then, based on the disposition of Turkish artillery fire, the main offensive thrust will most likely be delivered out of Azaz in a southwestern direction towards the SDF-held Menagh Airbase.

The most immediate operational aim of the Turkey-led forces would be to expand rebel control along the Aleppo-Azaz highway, severing communications between the town of Afrin from the town of Tall Rif’at.

By attacking in a southwestern direction, Turkey-led forces would also be avoiding the Russian military base at Kafr Jana, which Russian security forces recently reinforced.



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