On December 2, a spokesman for Jaysh al-Islam, Hamzah Birekdar, announced that the Turkish-backed group had deployed forces in the southern part of the area of Afrin following a recent attack by the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) on the town of Ablah.
“Reinforcements of Jaysh al-Islam forces headed to the area where the attack attempt happened in order to secure it,” Birekdar said in a press release published on his official Telegram channel.
Jaysh al-Islam spokesman also acknowledged that three fighters of the Turkish-backed Syrian National Army (SNA) were killed in the hit and run attack, which occurred a day earlier.
Last September, Jaysh al-Islam leader, Essam al-Buwaydhani, confirmed to the Reuters news agency that his group has joined the SNA. Al-Buwaydhani also revealed that Jaysh al-Islam is building a town with around 1,400 houses for the displaced families of its fighters in the northern Aleppo countryside.
Jaysh al-Islam is infamous for being one of the wealthiest armed groups in Syria, as its leadership collected millions of U.S. Dollars through illegal taxes and activists. The groups is also accused of kidnapping, torturing and executing hundreds of civilians including opposition activists.
Local observers had warned that Jaysh al-Islam leadership is willing to push its remaining fighters into an armed conflict with Kurdish forces on the hopes of collecting more money, mainly from Turkey.