At the afternoon of January 5, Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) launched a suprise attack on the town of Atarib in the opposition-held part of the western Aleppo countryside. Syrian oppositions activists reported that the radical group shelled the residential areas inside the strategic town during the attack.
Atarib was under the control of two Turkish-backed groups, Thuwar al-Sham and Byariq al-Islam. Both groups are affiliated with the Nour al-Din al-Zenki Movement, which was defeated by HTS a day earlier.
By the late hours of the day, HTS managed to break the will of the militias defending the town and forced them to accept a surrender agreement, according to the Iba’a news network. Under the agreement, HTS will take over the town, while Thuwar al-Sham and Byariq al-Islam will be dissolved. Turkish-backed militants were also banned from entering Atarib.
The town of Deir Sim’an and its historical citadel fell into the hands of HTS fighters at the early morning. The position of the town, which overlooks the Turkish-occupied areas of Afrin, allowed the radical group to isolate the remaining Turkish-backed militants.
HTS launched its attack on the Nour al-Din al-Zenki Movement at the beginning of January after accusing the group of assassinating four of its fighters. As expected by many local observers, HTS’s victory over al-Zenki encouraged it to continue its attack on Turkish-backed militants.
- Despite Defeating Al-Zenki, Hay’at Tahrir Al-Sham Continues Its Attack And Captures Key Town Near Turkish-Occupied Area