SYRIA: Turkish-backed groups continue protests against Turkey; U.S. patrol intercepts Russian patrol on M4 highway

TEL TAMR and IDLIB, Syria – Tension and chaos continues within areas controlled by Turkish forces and the Syrian National Army (SNA), a collection of militias, including several espousing Islamist ideologies, formed and funded by Turkey.

In Tel Abyad and Rish Ayno (Ras al-Ayn), which have been under Turkish and SNA occupation since their invasion of the region in October 2019, fighters of the SNA have engaged in protests demanding their salaries and the opening of the border. As a part of the protests, several roads were blockaded with tires.

Earlier in March, clashes took place in the village of Kafifa in the western countryside of Tel Abyad between SNA members, the Glory Corps and the Northern Brigade, following a dispute over the sharing of loot. The clashes resulted in the deaths of six fighters. Turkish forces intervened to break up clashes.

In southern Idlib, opposition fighters dug a ditch across the M4 highway in protest against joint Russian-Turkish patrols set to take place as a part of the ceasefire agreement established between Russian and Turkey.

In other news, a U.S. military patrol intercepted a Russian patrol on Hasakah-Aleppo highway on the strecht of road connecting Qamishli and Hasakah. The Russian patrol was forced to change its route. This incident is the latest in a series of confrontations between the U.S. and Russia on the roads of North and East Syria.

Earlier, U.S. forces intercepted a Russian military convoy containing tanks and heavy weapons that had set off from Qamishli airport towards the town of Tel Tamr via the M4 highway. The U.S. forces prevented the Russian convoy from entering Tel Tamr via the M4, forcing the Russian vehicles to detour through Darbasiyah and Abu Rasayn to reach the town.