Turkish forces have been creeping the water station near Sari Kani/Ras al-Ayn in Hosakah province, which they have shelled before causing a humanitarian disaster. This is northeast of Tal Tamr where there has been very heavy fighting with both SAA and SDF fighting Turkish forces and SAA driving TFSA back towards Sari Kani. It sounds like it was a bloodbath, but then SAA started really letting the TFSA have it. And obviously a lot of this is outside the safe zone. The safe zone remains basically bullshit; it holds in some places, but that’s just because Turkey would get its ass kicked if it directly attacked Russia in the west or the US in the east (and Russia too, for that matter, but less so), so the places where the safe zone is not violated is not because Turkey is choosing to abide by it, but because it can’t.
It’s another day in Idlib, with more reports of Russia hitting what should be non-military targets, like an IDP camp. People attribute it to malice, but I’m not sure if it’s not that they just don’t give a shit. I don’t know.
Qamishli: The daily rock patrol seems to be getting more intense as the people become more emboldened. Lots more climbing in the trucks and driving them off the road. The Russians must love it after the couple weeks they had of flaunting the fact that nobody would shoot at them. Though I guess still nobody is shooting at them, exactly.
Macro Issues on the Ground:
The M4 is still blocked, requiring the use of secondary roads. This has caused food prices to spike.
Russia is not controlling the airspace over northern Syria—or rather, they are not restricting it; Turkey makes extensive use of drones in both the Ain Issa and Tall Tamr regions. They do seem to be protecting the Manbij and Kobani region both with armor and helicopters. Not sure why, but that area keeps being treated differently.
For obvious reasons, there is a fair amount of suspicion on the ground about Russia’s role, especially since they are hammering SNA in the west, so pretty much everyone in all sides is giving Russia the side eye but nobody can do anything about it. They’re now compared by SDF types on the ground as similar to the US in that Russia is around but not actually defending them.
What makes it so different from the US is that Russia appears to be completely in control, and yet they’re still acting in ways nobody can figure out. People there seem to understand that US’s divided government means policy can get weird with advocates and detractors in the same administration. Putin’s Russia has no such division, so what happens is something that he is doing on purpose and that’s not gonna change (so whatever this is, it’s what he’s about), whereas America might be induced to help.
So, with many anyway, Russia is currently about as popular as one might expect.