Leader of the al-Sharqiyah Martyrs Gathering, Abu Khula, announced on October 28 that he had dissolved his armed group and handed over all of its weapons and vehicles to the military judiciary in the Euphrates Shield (ES) area in the northern Aleppo countryside.
“Due to the deterioration of my health, and because of some criminal acts, which were carried out by some groups of some factions, and blamed on the al-Sharqiyah Martyrs Gathering, I announce the compete dissolve of the al-Sharqiyah Martyrs Gathering,” Abu Khula said in a video message explaining his decision.
Later, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) revealed that Turkey and several Free Syrian Army (FSA) groups had pressured Abu Khula to make this decision in order to punish him for launching a unauthorized attack on the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) in the village of Tadef, which is covered by a de-escalation agreement.
During the attack, which occurred on July 5, Abu Khula and his fighters captured Tadef after killing and injuring several Syrian soldiers. Back then, sources close to the Sharqiyah Martyrs Gathering said that the attack was aimed at supporting the militants in southern Syria, who were struggling to stop the SAA’s advance there.
Abu Khula and his fighters withdrew from the village few hours later on the same day. However, it appears that Turkey is not willing to tolerate anyone who dare to disobey its orders in the ES-held area.
The punishment of Abu Khula will likely send a strong message to other FSA groups in northern Syria, especially that many of them are now violating the deconfliction agreement on the governorate of Idlib, which was approved by Turkey.