Details have begun to emerge surrounding Monday evening’s heavy clashes between the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) and Syrian rebel groups on the outskirts of Afrin in the northern Aleppo countryside.
Kurdish writer and politician Ziran Hadou told ARA News: “Half of what happened on Monday is [clear], that the YPG cut the arms of the Turkish octopus before it wrapped around Afrin from the Qalaat Samaan direction. So what happened yesterday? And why this timing? And who planned it? And who carried it out?”
He continued, saying: “For a long time, the Ahrar al-Sham and Hay'at Tahrir al-Sham groups have been targeting the homes of civilians and farmlands in the villages of Shirawa and Jandrees, on one side, and from another side the forces of the [Turkish-led] Operation Euphrates Shield have been targeting villages of the Al-Shahaba district.”
On Monday, a YPG reconnaissance unit observed mobilizations on the Qalaat Samaan front, Hadou said, adding that reports also emerged about Ahrar al-Sham's intention to carry out a surprise attack from two directions, with the help of fighters from Hay'at Tahrir al-Sham. “After YPG field commanders held a rapid meeting they made a plan to lay an ambush for the attackers, and two YPG groups slipped into two points used by Ahrar al-Sham to begin the attack,” he said.
“After allowing the attackers to advance a short stance, the YPG fighters flanked them, and the Ahrar al-Sham and Tahrir al-Sham fighters fell into the ambush under YPG fire in Afrin and Turkey’s wolves in Qalaat Samaan,” Hadou added.
The clashes resulted in 40 dead and 15 wounded from the other side, he said, while one YPG fighter was killed and another was wounded.
Hadou revealed that before the attack, Turkish artillery had been striking the villages of Al-Shahba and the Shiran district in an attempt to divide the attention of the YPG. “This proves the complicity of Turkish intelligence in an attempt to ignite the fronts and to derail any attempts aimed at avoiding bloodshed,” he said.
This article was translated and edited by The Syrian Observer. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.