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.
You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.
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Trump: Tanks to Ukraine could escalate to use of ‘NUKES’
Former President Donald Trump stated bluntly on Truth Social, “FIRST COME THE TANKS, THEN COME THE NUKES. Get this crazy war ended, NOW. So easy to do!”
Trump was referring to the escalation of war in Ukraine. He, like many other commentators and lawmakers, are warning that the decision to continue sending weapons – and now tanks – could potentially lead to the use of “nuclear weapons.”
It’s mission creep and it’s dangerous, they say.
Why? Because Russian President Valdimir Putin has indicated in two different speeches that he would use nuclear weapons to defend Russia, if needed. Those warnings are not just bluster but a very real possibility.
And the escalation of war is visible.
Russia launched 55 missiles strikes across Ukraine Thursday, leaving 11 dead. The strikes come one day after the United States and Germany agreed to send tanks to Ukraine in an effort to aide the country. 47 of the 55 missiles were shot down according to Ukraine’s Air Force command.
Eleven lives were lost and another 11 were injured additionally leaving 35 buildings damaged in the wake of the attacks. According to The New York Times, Denys Shmyhal, said in a post on Telegram. “The main goal is energy facilities, providing Ukrainians with light and heat,” he said.
Ukraine is now demanding that they need F-16 fighter jets. In a post on twitter Ukrainian lawmaker, Oleksiy Goncharenko said, “Missiles again over Ukraine. We need F16.”
Morning. Missiles again over Ukraine. We need F16.
— Oleksiy Goncharenko (@GoncharenkoUa) January 26, 2023
The US has abstained from sending advanced jets in the chances that a volatile decision could foster more dangerous attacks like former President Trump’s post on Truth referred to. If the US did authorize the decision to lend Ukraine the F-16 jets Netherlands’ foreign minister, Wopke Hoekstra, would be willing to supply them. According to The New York Times, Hoekstra told Dutch lawmakers, “We are open-minded… There are no taboos.”
F-16 fighter jets are complex to work on, they are not the average aircraft that can be learned in a matter of weeks. It can take months for pilots to learn how to fly these birds. European and US officials have the concern that Ukrainian forces could potentially use the jets to fly into Russian airspace and launch attacks on Russian soil.
Western allies are trying to avoid such a provocation, because that could lead to nuclear warfare in reference to what Putin has said he would do to defend his country.
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