syria war map south front october 2019
© South Front
On October 16, units of the Syrian Army entered the city of Raqqah, currently controlled by the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces, for the first time since 2014, Russia's RIA Novosti reported, citing a local military source.

The report says that the Syrian Army has already established observation posts in the area of the city.

Elsewhere, the U.S.-led coalition has withdrawn from the Kharab Ashk military base in the eastern Aleppo countryside.

According to the Hawar News Agency (ANHA), the coalition destroyed the large base after completing the withdrawal process.

"Coalition forces destroyed the base after moving as much as it could equipment out of it," the agency's report reads.

The agency, which is affiliated with the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), released a video showing the withdrawal process. The footage shows black smoke rising from the base, which was located inside the Lafarge cement factory.

You may recall that Lafarge, France's largest cement firm, was found guilty of trading with ISIS at the height of that terrorist organization's power in mid-2015.

northern syria south front map october 2019
© South Front
The SDF have also launched a counter-attack south of the border town of Tell Abyad in northern Raqqa, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) reports.

"The SDF managed to advance and regain control of two positions it had lost to [Turkish-backed] factions in the past few hours," SOHR's report reads.

According to the London-based monitoring group, heavy clashes are currently taking place south of Tell Abyad. The two sides are also exchanging shelling.

Local sources said that the SDF has also recaptured the town of Jadla, located less than 3km to the south of Tell Abyad's town center.

Militants of the Turkish-backed National Syrian Army (NSA) captured Tell Abyad on October 13 in the framework of Operation Peace Spring. The capture of the town is one of their biggest achievements, so far.

The SDF's counter-attack was likely facilitated by the deployment of the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) in the town of Ain Issa, south of Tell Abyad. The army presence secured the Kurdish-led group supply lines.

It has been confirmed that two Turkish soldiers were killed in Manbij yesterday October 15th by shelling from SDF forces.

Elsewhere, at least 49 militants of the Turkish-backed National Syrian Army (NSA) were killed by the SDF in the border town of Ras al-Ayn, according to opposition activists.

The militants were reportedly looting houses inside Ras al-Ayn, in northern al-Hasakah, when they were ambushed.

The 'National Syrian Army', by the way, is the rebranded 'Free Syrian Army' the US originally armed back in 2012. With the Americans leaving, two of its proxy forces - the NSA and the SDF - are left fighting each other.

On October 15, several sources released an alleged copy of the recent breakthrough agreement between the Damascus government and the SDF.

The agreement, which covers the country's northeastern region, was reached on October 13 during a meeting between representatives of Damascus and the SDF. The meeting was reportedly held in the Russian Hmeimim airbase in Lattakia.

Under the agreement, Syrian Arab Army (SAA) forces will be moving into SDF territory using three directions:
  • From Tabqa in northern direction towards Ayn Issa and its countryside. Also in northern direction towards Syrian Turkish border at Tell Abyad and towards the west;
  • Second axis from Manbij into the direction of Ayn al Arab on Syrian Turkish border until Tell Abyad and towards the west;
  • Third axis from Hasakah/Tall Tamr, arriving in Ras al Ayn and towards the east arriving in Qamishli and then Al Malikiyah and towards the south;
  • The SAA forces will spread in the Manbij region, starting from Arima and along the Sajur river, sticking to previous deals regarding the distribution of forces in Arima.
Included in the agreement, the SDF confirmed that it's prepared to preserve the territorial unity of the Syrian Arab Republic under the republic's official flag and that they will stand by the SAA in confronting Turkish threats under the leadership of President Bashar al-Assad.