Turkish-backed militant groups continue fighting each other in northern Syria.
On June 2, clashes broke out among members of the Sultan Murad Division, the al-Hamza Division and Ahrar al-Sharqiya in the villages of Bab al-Khair and Um Ushba in the province of al-Hasakah. According to local sources, the tensions erupted when militants failed to settle their differences over the looting of the fields of crops, which they had seized from the locals.
A separate incident happened in the town of al-Bab in the province of Aleppo early on June 3. The so-called Free Syrian Police (FSP) confronted their counterparts from other Turkish-backed groups after the FSP had detained a woman supposedly linked to ISIS. Last weekend, several civilians had already been injured in a firefight between the FSP and other armed groups.
Another problem is the regular occurrence of assassinations and bombing attacks happening in the Turkish-occupied area. On June 3, an explosion of a booby-trapped motorcycle in the village of al-Beshar injured one person and caused a fire in local wheat and barley fields. A day earlier, a civilian was killed and at least 3 others injured in a supposed IED explosion in the border town of Jarabulus. A car bomb also exploded in the village of Jenderes.
The total death toll from infighting among Turkish-backed militants and from various security incidents is over a dozen civilians in the past week alone.
At the same time, Syrian government forces have been putting extensive effort into securing the civilian areas that they have liberated from militants. Late on June 2, government troops announced that they had found and dismantled over 700 landmines and explosive devices in the area east of the town of Salamiya in Hama province.
Units of the Syrian Army also conducted a new anti-ISIS raid in the countryside of Palmyra. This time they were able to detect and destroy an ISIS position southeast of the ancient city. An active search operation is ongoing near the village of Maadan in Raqqa province after a supposed ISIS cell staged an IED attack there.
The contact line between the Syrian Army and militants in southern Idlib remains in a stable instable situation. Recently, clashes between Hayat Tahrir al-Sham and the army have been reported north of Hantutin and west of al-Jaradah.
Meanwhile, on June 2, the Turkish Army and the Russian Military Police held a 14th joint patrol along the M4 highway. The patrol started east of Saraqib and reached the western entrance to Ariha amid protests by supporters of Idlib radicals. Videos and photos from the Ariha entrance also showed lots of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham flags confirming that the town is currently in the hands of the terrorists. Further patrols to the area west of Ariha are not possible as long as Hayat Tahrir al-Sham maintains its positions there.