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by Chris Tomson

Responding to increased Turkish aggression, the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) shelled the rebel-held town of Mare’ for several hours on Sunday while Kurdish engineers stiffened the SDF’s ditches and defensive line along the Azaz-Mare’ axis.

Furthermore, news broke just minutes ago that the SDF – led by an Arab contingent calling itself ‘Liwa al-Shamal al-Demoqrati’ – captured the village of Tal Malid. During the clashes, the SDF also seized an armoured vehicle, type BMP-1, which had been abandoned by Turkish-backed Free Syrian Army (FSA) fighters.

Pictures of the war booty can be seen below:

cvdwlodxgaah8k4Chris Tomson | Al-Masdar News
cvdwlocwcaadobpChris Tomson | Al-Masdar News

In the past days, the Turkish Air Force has conducted numerous airstrikes on mostly Kurdish SDF positions in the Efrin region, causing some tensions between Washington and Ankara who back opposing sides of the conflict.

Additionally, the YPG – the largest faction of the SDF – said the past days’ clashesand Turkish aerial bombardment had killed 19 of its fighters.

cvcukw8xyai4kvdChris Tomson | Al-Masdar News

The clashes between the SDF and FSA came into effect after rebel commanders demanded Kurdish units to withdraw from the imperative town of Tall Rifaat or ‘face consequences’.

Meanwhile, in a related development, Kurdish reconnaissance units at the village of Sheikh Isa observed tens of Turkish tanks leaving rebel-held areas near Mare’, likely to participate in an upcoming Turkish-led offensive to capture the Islamic State stronghold of Al-Bab. Only three Turkish tanks are believed to remain inside Mare’, according to a SDF source.

This correlates with statements by Turkey’s President Tayyip Erdogan; in a speech given yesterday, Turkey’s President Tayyip Erdogan reaffirmed his commitment to capturing Al-Bab and securing the Turkish border.