Amid brazen attempts by rival Turkish-backed Takfiri militants to consolidate their grip on areas under their control, the extremists have turned against each other and engaged in a fierce exchange of fire in Syria’s northeastern province of Hasakah.
Syria’s official news agency SANA, citing local sources, reported that bloody infighting broke out on Thursday between militants affiliated with the Hamza Division, which is a faction of the so-called Free Syrian Army trained and equipped by the United States and Turkey, in the village of Tal Arqam on the outskirts of Ras al-Ayn city.
The report added that rival militants attacked each other’s positions intensely, using heavy machine guns and semi-heavy weapons. Several Takfiris were killed and injured in the process.
Turkey has deployed forces in Syria in violation of the Arab country's sovereignty and territorial integrity.
Ankara-backed militants were deployed to northeastern Syria in October 2019 after Turkish military forces launched a long-threatened cross-border invasion in a declared attempt to push fighters of the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) away from border areas.
Ankara views the US-backed YPG as a terrorist organization tied to the homegrown Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which has been seeking an autonomous Kurdish region in Turkey since 1984.
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and other senior officials have said Damascus will respond through all legitimate means available to the ongoing ground offensive by Turkish forces in the northern part of the Arab country.
Villagers, Syrian govt. forces block US military convoy, force it to retreat
Separately, a US military convoy has been forced to retreat from an area in Syria’s Hasakah province after local residents in coordination with government forces prevented it from attempting to pass through their community.
SANA reported that a US convoy of four armored vehicles was forced on Wednesday afternoon to turn around and head back in the direction it came from after locals of al-Qusayr village blocked the road and prevented its movement.
The US military has stationed forces and equipment in eastern and northeastern Syria, with the Pentagon claiming that the deployment is aimed at preventing the oil fields in the area from falling into the hands of the Daesh terrorists.
Damascus, however, says the unlawful deployment is meant to plunder the country’s resources.
Former US President Donald Trump admitted on several occasions that American forces were in Syria for its oil.
After failing to oust the Syrian government with the help of its proxies and direct involvement in the conflict, the US government has now stepped up its economic war on the Arab country.