An arms and ammunition depot of the militants affiliated to the Turkish army blew up in the town of Mare’a this afternoon, leaving 14 militants dead and several more wounded.
In relevant developments in the province on Tuesday, the Turkey-backed militants’ mortar and artillery units shelled heavily the villages and towns of al-Shahba, Tal Rifat and Sheikh Issa, causing the Kurdish forces to launch retaliatory attacks on militants’ positions in the town of Mare’a.
The Kurdish fighters also targeted a vehicle of the militants carrying Jeish al-Thowar militants along the road connecting Azaz to Mare’a, killing 13 militants.
In the meantime, artillery and mortar units of the Turkey-backed militant groups started to shell the villages of Tal Madhiq, Um Hawsh and Harbel from their positions in the village of Kaljabrin and the center of Azaz.
A commander of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) affiliated to the Turkish army said that the FSA and the Turkish Armed Forces might soon launch a joint operation against the Kurdish military units in the Syrian city of Afrin soon.
The commander of the Syrian opposition said that the operation will have several stages.
“At the first stage, we plan to capture the city of Tal Rifat as well as the local airbase, and then we plan to begin with the siege of Afrin, which is under the control of the Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) forces. Our goal is not to enter the territory of Afrin, but rather to clear the territories located near the Turkish border from the YPG,” the commander said.
“We have been getting ready for the operation for 2 months; the last preparations are now underway,” he added.
Around 20,000 militants of the FSA and Turkish troops will participate in the new military operation in the Northwestern Syrian Afrin region, which is under control of the YPG.
“The operation can start at any moment. The Turkish forces are stationed in Mare’a, Azaz and in the North of Idlib. Only those FSA units which were previously involved in the Euphrates Shield will take part in the upcoming operation. The US-backed FSA militants won’t participate in the fighting in the Afrin area. We don’t trust them, as they can pass information on to the Kurdish self-defense units,” the FSA commander said.
Nuri Mehmud, an official representative of the YPG, said earlier that the group will defend its territory if there is an attack on Afrin from Turkey.
A well-informed local source in Northern Aleppo reported on Monday that thousands of militants affiliated to the Turkish Army were to kick off an imminent large-scale operation codenamed Seif al-Forat (the Euphrates Sword) in Afrin region.
The source reported that the FSA, backed up by the Turkish soldiers, were ready to carry out a large-scale operation in Afrin region with over 20,000 fighters.
The Ankara-backed militants are expected to start their operation from West of the town of Azaz and from the town of Ein Daqneh and Ming military airport in Northern Aleppo to move towards the towns of Tal Rifat and Afrin in Aleppo province and the town of Tal Abyadh in Northern Raqqa.