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Missile strikes hit Syrian opposition-held oil sites, reportedly killing 1 and injuring at least 11

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UPDATED AT 3:49 PM (EST)

Ballistic missile strikes hit oil tankers and markets across northern Syria on Friday near the Turkish border.

The strikes killed one person and wounded at least 11 others, Turkish state media and a source from the Turkish-backed faction that controls the region told Reuters.

Explosions rocked local oil refineries near the northern Syrian towns of al-Bab and Jarablus, sparking huge fires, a witness and Turkey’s state-owned Anadolu news agency said, according to Reuters.

The source in the National Army, which controls areas of northwest Syria where Turkish troops have a presence, told Reuters that missile strikes had caused the blasts, injuring 11 individuals.

Anadolu said that they were ballistic missiles and that it was not clear who carried out the strikes, which it said injured 18 people, according to Reuters.

Turkey has supported insurgents who sought to depose Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, though al-Assad, with Russian and Iranian assistance, has pushed back the fighters to an area in the the war-torn country’s northwest.

At the time of publication, reports are indicating that strikes were carried out by either Russian or Syrian government forces, specifically against oil markets controlled by opposition forces in northern Syria. Moreover, the reports are conflicting about whether the missiles were the Syrian Army’s OTR-21 Tochka-U or the Russian’s Iskander.

One strike hit oil tankers in al-Hamran, which is near Jarablus and northwest of the northern Syria town of Manbij, resulting in a massive explosion.

The exact location of theses strikes was determined as the al-Hamran crossing between the TFSA (Turkish-backed Free Syrian Army) and SDF-controlled (Syrian Democratic Forces) areas, according to a report. The supposed target were reportedly trucks smuggling oil.

Three missiles hit the al-Hamran crossing, according to Syrian journalist Mohamed Rasheed, “causing huge explosions and burning fuel vehicles at the targeted place.”

It has also been reported that a subsequent strike hit an oil market in the TFSA-held town of Tarhin, which is north of al-Bab. Reporting thus far has indicated that two missiles were launched from the major city of Aleppo.

These missile strikes come one week after U.S. President Joe Biden in his first known use of force as commander-in-chief launched an airstrike against an Iranian-backed militia target in Syria, which drew harsh criticism from both the political left and right.

The Wall Street Journal also reported Thursday that there was initially supposed to be a second airstrike the same day as the aforementioned one, but that Biden called it off at the last minute due to an intelligence report saying that there was a woman and some child at the site of the second Iranian-backed militia target.

RELATED: Report: Biden called off a second Syria airstrike last week

You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.

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Taliban Holds Parade for 250 Newly Trained Soldiers with American-Made Weapons Left Behind

As the result of an ill-prepared withdrawal that went horribly wrong, the Taliban now holds a large stock of weapons and equipment left behind.

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On Sunday, Taliban forces held a very bone-chilling parade showing off their captured American-made armored military vehicles and Russian helicopters. The act was “a display that showed their ongoing transformation from an insurgent force to a regular standing army” writes CNN.

The Taliban are no longer terror insurgents fighting against American forces that had once freed Afghanistan from the Taliban. As the result of an ill-prepared withdrawal that went horribly wrong, the Taliban now holds a large stock of weapons and equipment left behind.

The parade was part of a graduation for 250 newly trained Taliban soldiers, said defense ministry spokesman Enayatullah Khwarazmi. CNN reports, “The exercise involved dozens of US-made M117 armored security vehicles driving slowly up and down a major Kabul road with MI-17 helicopters patrolling overhead. Many soldiers carried American-made M4 assault rifles.”

Tragically, much of the weaponry taunted in the parade by Taliban forces were supplied by the United States to the American-backed government in Kabul during the past two decades. The equipment was to aid an Afghan national force and make it capable of fighting the Taliban.

As forces fled Afghanistan, some of the military equipment provided by western forces was flown into Central Asian Countries in an attempt to avoid it landing in the hands of the Taliban. It remains unclear exactly how much of what did end up in Taliban control is still operational.

American troops destroyed over 70 aircraft and dozens of armored vehicles, as well as disabled air defenses before flying out of Kabul during the frenetic evacuation. CNN reports “Taliban officials have said that pilots, mechanics and other specialists from the former Afghan National Army would be integrated into a new force, which has also started wearing conventional military uniforms in place of the traditional Afghan clothing normally worn by their fighters.”

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