Fri 14 October 2022:
The Syrian opposition, on Thursday, announced that the Hay’at Tahrir Al-Sham (HTS), or the Organisation for the Liberation of the Levant, has taken full control over the strategic town of Afrin, in Aleppo countryside, north-west of Syria.
A source in the opposition, who asked not to be named, told the German News Agency that the HTS fighters and allied militants took full control of the city, following days of clashes with several militia groups who were controlling the area.
According to the source, the fighters of Jaysh Al-Islam faction and the Levant Front withdrew from the city and headed to the town of Azaz in Aleppo’s northern countryside, pointing out that the town’s police and military remained in their headquarters without a fight.
The source said the hand-over came in implementation of an agreement concluded on Wednesday during a military-security meeting held in the town of Azaz, which included officers from the Turkish intelligence and army, as well as leaders of the factions that control northern Syria, which stipulated to withdraw the faction’s forces from Afrin and its countryside.
Afrin, a Kurdish-majority city, had been under the control of Turkish-backed armed groups since 2018 after a Turkish military offensive that ousted Syrian Kurdish forces that Ankara considers terrorists.
Meanwhile, a Turkish military delegation headed by Deputy Interior Minister, Ismail Catakli, the Governor of Gaziantep, and officers from the Turkish Military Intelligence visited on Wednesday the city of Azaz and the town of Al-Rai and met with leaders of factions in Aleppo eastern countryside.
The source warned against HTS progress and control over the entire areas of Aleppo northern countryside.
Earlier, HTS took control of the town of Jindires, Al-Ma’batli, and the villages south and north of Afrin.
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