The escalation between groups allied with Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (specifically Jabhat al-Nusra and its allies) (HTS) and Ankara’s factions has intensified, as both sides vie for control over the al-Hamran crossing. This crossing demarcates the territories controlled by Ankara and its affiliated factions in the Jarablus region from those held by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in the Manbij countryside.
The conflict in this area has raged on for five consecutive days, marked by sustained heavy shelling exchanges between the factions. The Ahrar Olan Movement, formerly known as the Eastern Section of the Ahrar al-Sham Movement, which is aligned with HTS, has been leading the charge. They launched a series of violent attacks last Thursday evening against the positions of Ahrar al-Sham – Second Corps in the vicinity of the villages of Thultana, Abla, and Tal Batal in the al-Bab countryside. These attacks were directed towards the critical Hamran crossing.
In the past twenty-four hours, tensions escalated significantly when HTS dispatched a group of foreign combatants to the northeastern countryside of Aleppo, including individuals such as Abu al-Faraj al-Masri and Abu Odai Saraya. This move prompted Ahrar Olan to launch further violent offensives, taking advantage of the support it had received.
The most recent attack by Ahrar Olan centred around the village of Jubb Kousa. In response, the leadership of the National Army from Ankara declared a general alert and deployed substantial military reinforcements to the village. Violent clashes between the conflicting parties continued until dawn on Monday.
Turkish intervention in the conflict unfolded in stages. Initially, infantry soldiers, tanks, and military vehicles were sent to secure key routes connecting the northwestern countryside of Aleppo to the east. This intervention was directed towards the Deir Ballout and Qatma crossings, which separate the territories controlled by HTS in Idleb and the western countryside of Aleppo from areas held by Ankara-affiliated factions in the north.
Turkish reinforcements effectively disrupted the flow of supplies to Ahrar Olan, with a notable development being the direct aerial targeting by a Turkish drone during the ongoing clashes in the village of Jubb Kousa. The drone struck a gathering of foreign militants from the Idleb countryside, resulting in the deaths of three individuals, including a prominent HTS leader.
Turkish intervention in the Jubb Kousa battles played a pivotal role in enabling the Second Corps factions to repel the attacks by Ahrar Alwan and the al-Shahba Gathering factions. The attackers suffered significant casualties and were forced to retreat towards their bases near the village of Soufan in the Bab countryside.
Throughout the ongoing battles, control over the village and the Hamran crossing changed hands multiple times, with Ahrar Olan groups briefly besieging and taking control of them before the Second Corps factions mounted counteroffensives to reclaim these positions. However, it appears that as of Sunday evening, the Corps militants managed to maintain control over both the village and the crossing.
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.