BEIRUT, LEBANON (5:25 P.M.) – Following just over a month of operations in Afrin, the Turkish Army and proxy militias under its command have seized the almost the entire region’s border area with Turkey – along with it, most of the northwest Syrian border in general.
Now it seems inevitable that Turkey-led forces will seize the remaining section of Syrian-Turkish border space in the Sheikh Hadid area.
Considering that most of the countryside west of Sheikh Hadid is just forest, pro-Ankara forces may attempt to seize the town itself as an anchor point to secure the last section of Afrin’s border not yet under Turkish-backed militant control.
Whether Kurdish fighters or Syrian pro-government forces or both contest an advance by the Turkish Army and allied militias to take the town of Sheikh Hadid is yet to be seen (it is after all a very large settlement that offers operational advantage to any side that holds it).
Moreover, what also remains to be seen is if Ankara’s Olive branch operation continues into the mountainous heartland of Afrin after the full seizure of the region’s Turkish-Syrian border space.