On January 30, hundreds of Turkish-backed militants deployed in western Aleppo to fight the Syrian Arab Army (SAA). The step is reportedly a result of a breakthrough agreement with al-Qaeda-affiliated Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS).
The militants are members of the Nour al-Din al-Zenki Movement, that was expelled from the outskirt of Aleppo city last year by HTS.
Opposition sources released several videos showing the militants heading in large convoys from the Turkish-occupied area of Afrin to western Aleppo.
Enab Baladi, a pro-opposition outlet, revealed that HTS and the Nour al-Din al-Zenki Movement, now fighting under the al-Majd Corps, reached an agreement allowing al-Zenki fighters to fight the SAA in western Aleppo during a meeting late on January 29.
Tawfiq Shihab Al-Din, al-Zenki’s former leader, confirmed on Twitter that an agreement was reached with the al-Qaeda-affiliated group.
“An agreement was made between the rebels of the western countryside of Aleppo and HTS, with the mediation of the brothers in Ahrar al-Sham, on the return of the rebels to their positions and their participation in fending off the fierce attack Russian and Iranian militias,” Shihab al-Din said in a tweet.
Last week, the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and its allies kicked off a large offensive around Aleppo city. Many areas in the region have been liberated, so far.
The new agreement between al-Zenki and HTS shows how Turkish-backed militants tolerate terrorist groups and even fight on their behalf. All of this happen directly under the eyes of Ankara.