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January 18, 2022

Syria crisis: Fresh clashes in Aleppo

Iran warns Turkey against intervention inside Syria, report says.

There have been fresh reports of clashes and attacks by helicopter gunships in Aleppo as the Syrian army offensive enters its fourth day, BBC reports.State TV said Syrian forces were inflicting heavy losses on “terrorist groups” in Aleppo and also claimed government successes in Homs.Thousands of refugees are continuing to flee Aleppo – Syria’s commercial hub. Meanwhile the US and Turkey have agreed to step up efforts to achieve “political transition” in Syria. This would include the departure of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, the White House said. According to Syrian TV, government troops have been gaining ground in several Aleppo neighbourhoods. On Monday, it reported that the army had won complete control over Salah al-Din, one of the areas of Aleppo where rebel fighters from the Free Syrian Army had become entrenched.Analysts say Salah al-Din provides an important route for Syrian troop reinforcements coming from the south. But activists and rebel commanders denied that government forces had gained ground there. Iran has recently warned Turkey against any attack on Syrian territory, saying that Tehran will retaliate “hardly” against a possible attack on its ally, reported Monday al-Watan newspaper, which is close to the government in Damascus. “Turkey has received over the last few hours very strong warnings and the following message: ‘beware if you change the playing field,” said the paper, quoting an unidentified Arab diplomat.  “Ankara was preparing, alongside the United States, to intervene militarily in the crisis using the Syrian Kurdish issue as a pretext, but Iran has terminated the Turkish dreams,” wrote al-Watan. The Islamic Republic has informed Ankara that it will “harshly retaliate against any attack inside Syrian territory and that Iran would reactivate (if applicable) the joint defense agreement signed with Syria,” wrote al-Watan.This is a “clear response to recent threats by Turkish Prime Minister,” the diplomat said. Recep Tayyip Erdogan accused Damascus on July 26 to have “given” several areas of northern Syria to the PKK and warned that Ankara could exercise its right of hot pursuit into Syria against the Kurdish rebels.

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