On March 4, Turkish-backed militants, mainly from the National Front for Liberation (NFL), launched a surprise attack in northern Aleppo.
A few hours into the attack, the militants captured the town of al-Sheikh ‘Aqil and nearby hilltops from the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and its allies. The town overlooks large parts of the northern and northwestern Aleppo countryside.
The militants’ attack was reportedly backed by the Turkish Armed Forces, which provided the militants with armament as well as direct fire support.
According to pro-government sources, the SAA is now pounding the militants in al-Sheikh ‘Aqil and the nearby town of Darat Izza, where Turkish forces are allegedly stationed.
Earlier today, Turkish-backed militants’ launched a similar attack on Saraqib city in southern Idlib. However, the attack was quickly repelled.
The SAA will likely launch a counter-attack to recapture al-Sheikh ‘Aqil with a few days, if not hours. The army and its allies, including Hezbollah, maintain large forces in northern Aleppo, especially in the towns of Nubl and al-Zahra east of al-Sheikh ‘Aqil.