Al-Qaeda-backed Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) took control of Afrin in northern Syria on Thursday, the North Press Syria reported.
According to regional sources, HTS militants entered the city of Afrin, north of Aleppo, after Third Legion, a Turkish-backed Syrian opposition faction, withdrew from the city.
NEW – #HTS fighters are now in #Afrin city, occupying & seeking to consolidate control of at least half the city districts.
Meanwhile, de facto #HTS-aligned SNA factions have taken the al-Humran crossing into #SDF-held #Manbij.
Enormously significant developments. pic.twitter.com/uLE4m9uUNO
— Charles Lister (@Charles_Lister) October 13, 2022
The Kurdish city Afrin came under the control of Turkish forces and the groups supported by Turkey with the “Olive Branch” military operation in March 2018.
The Third Legion has been pushed out of the city by the Syrian National Army (SNA) which consists of several Turkish-backed factions including Sultan Murad Division, Sham Legion, Sham Revolutionaries, Muntasir Billah Division, the First Legion, which consist of North Brigade, the Ninth Legion and 112 Brigade.
According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), the division between the groups supported by Turkey resulted in HTS taking control of Afrin.
The areas held by the SNA factions have been experiencing violent clashes between the Turkish-backed groups for three days.