More than 400 militants of the Turkish-backed Nour al-Din al-Zenki Movement and its allies arrived in the Turkish-occupied area of Afrin after withdrawing from all of their positions in the western Aleppo countryside, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) reported on January 6.
The Nour al-Din al-Zenki Movement lost its battle with Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) in a very humiliating way. The group’s militants were not able to resist for more than few days, while the leaders run away to Turkey.
According to the UK-based monitoring group, another 100 militants are expected to withdraw from the town of Atarib to Afrin in the upcoming few hours as HTS is currently deploying its forces inside the town. The radical group forced Thuwar al-Sham and Byariq al-Islam groups, which controlled the town, to surrender after a quick battle a day earlier.
Syrian opposition activists released a video showing dozens of vehicles and heavy weapons which were abandoned by the Turkish-backed militants on the road to Afrin. HTS had announced that its fighters managed to capture many battle tanks and armored vehicles from the Nour al-Din al-Zenki Movement.
Some photos, which were published on social media platforms by locals, also show HTS fighters burning the so called “revolution flag” and stepping on it in the former positions of the Nour al-Din al-Zenki Movement and its allies in western Aleppo.
HTS’ attack on the Nour al-Din al-Zenki Movement was an example of how the radical group, which served as the main branch of al-Qaeda in Syria for years, is taking advantage of the current ceasefire in northwestern Syria to expand its control. Local observers believe that the group’s next target will be the remaining Turkish-backed militants in the southern Idlib countryside.
- Hay’at Tahrir Al-Sham Enters Another Town In Western Aleppo And Neutralizes Two Turkish-Backed Groups