Opposition sources close to the National Army, formed by the Erdogan regime in the areas of operations it occupies and calls the Olive Branch” in Afrin north of Aleppo, and the Euphrates Shield in the northeastern countryside of the governorate, said that clashes had taken place over the past three days in the countryside of Afrin. The clashes have been between the blocs of Ahrar al-Sham that support al-Nusra and those opposed to it and which split from the militia last week.
The sources confirmed to Al-Watan that there were wounded and killed in the clashes, which began last Thursday in the vicinity of the town of Tarndaa, west of the city of Afrin and inside the camp near the town. On Saturday, the clashes extended to the areas of Jalbel and Jindires and to the main road linking Afrin to Azaz, which has been cut off since Saturday for traffic.
The sources expected clashes to intensify within Ahrar al-Sham and move to other militias within the so-called Third Corps, especially within the Levant Front. They are the largest force in the Corps which supports the dissident team within Ahrar al-Sham, except for the Jaysh al-Islam militias, which are excluded by the Erdogan regime for their close relationship with Saudi Arabia.
The sources pointed to the signs of a new war that would break out in the coming days inside the city of Afrin between the two rival teams of Ahrar al-Sham. This came after the militias replaced al-Nusra at the checkpoints of the city. Al-Nusra had withdrawn the Syrian branch of al-Qaeda militarily from it and kept it under the auspices of the General Security Agency, which disguised itself as the movement’s uniforms and emblems.
The sources noted that the withdrawals took place only in front of the media loyal to Erdogan’s mercenary leaders, as evidenced by the fact that these militias still control militarily the checkpoints and crossings of northern Syria. They will not abandon the checkpoints with the militias of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF,) because they are the reason for their economic survival, smuggling, kidnapping, extortion and drug trafficking.
This article was translated and edited by The Syrian Observer. The Syrian Observer has not verified the content of this story. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.