Hundreds of fighters of the National Front for Liberations (NFL) are preparing to withdraw from the northwestern Hama countryside to the Turkish-occupied areas in the northern Aleppo countryside, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) reported on January 10.
The withdrawal is a part of a surrender agreement, which the NFL accepted after losing a battle against Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) in northwestern Hama. The battle lasted for less than 24 hours.
HTS went on to intimidate the remaining NFL forces in the southern Idlib countryside then forced them to accept a very similar one-sided agreement. While the agreement doesn’t force the coalition’s militants to withdraw, many pro-opposition activists are expecting dozens of them to leave in the upcoming few days as HTS will rule their areas from now on.
Last week, HTS imposed control over most of the opposition-held part of the western Aleppo countryside after defeating the Nour al-Din al-Zenki Movement, which is also a part of the NFL coalition. Back then, hundreds of the group’s fighters withdraw to Afrin.
The defeat of the NFL was not a surprise as local observers had stated many times that the coalitions’ fighters are not capable of fighting HTS, nor willing to do so. Now, with the radical group controlling most of northwestern Syria, Russia and its allies may find themselves forced to take a serious military action.