On May 28, heavy clashes broke out between the Hamza Division and militants from Damascus’ Eastern Ghouta in the Turkish-occupied city of Afrin in northern Syria.
The clashes erupted, when militants from the Hamza Division attacked a shop owned by a man from Eastern Ghouta with a hand grenade because he refused to loan them some goods. The man chased after the militants, who opened fire killing him and a child.
In response, Eastern Ghouta militants, mainly from Jays al-Islam, launched an attack on the Hamza Division’s positions in Afrin’s city center. Clashes lasted for several hours. Heavy weapons were used.
Many positions of the Hamza Division were looted and burned during the clashes. Eventually, the group withdrew all of its militants from Afrin city.
According to the London-based Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), three militants from the Hamza Division and a militant from Eastern Ghouta were killed. Three civilians, including two children, were also killed. More than six others were injured.
After the clashes, the Hamza Division released a statement condemning the acts of its militants. The group claimed that an investigation will be launched into the incident, promising that it will hold its members accountable.
Such incidents are quite common in Turkish-occupied areas in north and northeast Syria. Many militants and civilians were killed as a result of infighting in the last few months.
The Turkish military is yet to take measures to put an end to the reckless behavior of its proxies. Ankara is most likely ignoring these acts to maintain good relations with Syrian militants.