On February 4, the Turkish Army and its proxies from the Free Syrian Army (FSA) captured the village of Haj Bilal in the Shaykh al-Hadid district west of the city of Afrin, according to the Turkish Anadolu Agency. Turkish sources also claimed that the Turkish Army had captured the village of Shaykh Khurus north of Afrin. However, these claims are still not confirmed.
From its side, the YPG announced that its fighters had repelled an attack of the Turkish Army on their positions in the villages of Blikah and Shakwarzi in the Bulbul district north of Afrin. YPG fighters destroyed a bulldozer of the Turkish Army with an ATGM while they were repelling the attack, according to the Hawar News Agency (ANHA).
Meanwhile, Syrian opposition sources reported that Faylaq al-Sham, the Free Idlib Army and the Nour al-Din al-Zenki Movement had sent hundreds of their fighters to Turkey in order to participate in the ongoing Turkish attack on the Afrin area.
— MOHAMMED GHORAB (@MGhorab3) February 4, 2018
The redeployment of these forces from Idlib governorate to the Afrin area confirm that the Turkish Army is planning to expand its operations in Afrin. Moreover, it may indicate that these armed groups are no longer willing to fight the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) in Idlib.