Opposition sources have reported two groups consisting of 100 US-trained Syrian opposition fighters entered the northern countryside of Aleppo on Sunday.
According to the sources, "the first group consisted of 60 fighters who received training in Saudi Arabia. The group follows al-Jabha ash-Shamiyah, and calls itself al-Dawa and Jihad Brigades."
According to the commander of al-Dawa and Jihad, Abu Abbas, fighters were sent to Saudi Arabia nearly two months ago within the US Pentagon Train and Equip Program for Syrian opposition fighters. Abu Abbas said they had received training on modern weapons and that fighters will be sent to fight the Islamic State (ISIS) in the coming days.
The second group of 40 fighters is said to have received training in Turkey as part of the same US-backed program. According to the group’s commander, "the trained fighters will operate in the northern countryside of Aleppo, and will assist the existing battalions to repel the advance of ISIS in the region."
The northern countryside of Aleppo has witnessed fierce battles between Syrian opposition factions and ISIS for the past months, as the radical Islamist group managed to seize a number of villages and towns in the region.
The first batch of 54 US-trained fighters was attacked by Nusra Front shortly after being deployed in the northern countryside of Aleppo two months ago, leading to the death and capture of a number of the Western-backed fighters.
This article was translated and edited by The Syrian Observer