Turkmen forces operating under Syrian moderate opposition units seized the strategic Kızıldağ region located in the Turkmen-populated Bayırbucak region, following a comprehensive operation that began Tuesday morning. The regime and its allies intensified their aggression toward Turkmens later on Wednesday.
Turkmen forces had to retreat after the region was heavily besieged by Syrian regime forces on the ground cooperating with the Russian air force last week, but they claim that their advance will continue after seizing Kızıldağ, which was previously captured by the regime on Friday.
"Hot clashes are continuing. God willing, our advance will go further," said Mustafa Abdullah, the spokesman of the Turkmen Sultan Abdülhamid Han Brigade.
Indicating that the unit suffered six casualties and 15 injured, Abdullah said they captured one tank, three DShK heavy machine guns and one bulldozer after the operation. He also claimed that hundreds of regime forces, Shia militia members and other factions loyal to the regime were killed.
Kızıldağ is located 5 kilometers from the Turkish border and plays a crucial role in the fight. Syrian regime forces have accelerated operations in the Turkmen region, reportedly being supported by Iranian, Iraqi, Afghan and Lebanese fighter jets as well as the Russian air force. Local sources reported that regime forces deployed in the Kasab region of Latakia province bombarded Kızıldağ and the surrounding region on Tuesday, as sounds of explosions were audible in the Yayladağı district of Turkey's Hatay province.
Virtually 300,000 Syrian Turkmens have been displaced so far since the beginning of the outbreak of the Syrian civil war in March 2011, and 25,000 of them have taken shelter in neighboring Turkey. Operations by Syrian regime forces, supported by Russian air strikes, on the Turkmen-populated Bayırbucak region in northern Syria are ongoing. Heavily affected by the operations, Arabs in addition to Turkmens are also reportedly leaving their homes and settling in refugee camps in the village of Yamadi in Latakia province, which are suffering from deplorable living conditions. The refugee camps include tents set up by the Turkish Red Crescent. Apart from the Turkish Red Crescent, Turkey's Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD) also provided hundreds of tents to refugees.