Turkish-backed forces in control in Afrin continue to damage the city, as Turkish authorities point to the northern Syrian city as the source of Sunday’s blast that killed six and injured dozens in Istanbul’s busiest street.
The weekend saw Turkish-backed Sultan Murad brigade abduct internally displaced persons in Afrin. The militiamen demanded a ransom to release the abductees, and stole cars from other civilians, according to an Afrin Post reports.
Jaish al-Sharqiya militiamen are renting out a plot of land they seized from local villagers in Julbur, the Afrin Post reported on Tuesday.
Turkish forces had shelled the outskirts of three villages in Afrin in the previous week, the Afrin Post said in another report.
Different factions within the Turkish-backed Ahrar al-Sham have been clashing since 10 November in the city with those who support Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, an al-Qaeda offshoot, reported Al-Monitor.
“Afrin witnessed, on 11 November, popular protests against HTS’ presence in the city, calling on its fighters to withdraw from the area. HTS is accused of fueling the internal dispute within Ahrar al-Sham while providing military support to some Ahrar al-Sham groups against those it labels as coup stagers,” wrote Khaled al-Khateb for the website.
HTS has largely withdrawn from Afrin, almost two weeks after seizing the northern city, reported Middle East Eye.
The day after the bomb attack in Istanbul, on 13 November, state-run Anadolu Agency had reported that the Turkish police arrested a woman as the suspect, named Ahlam Albashir who allegedly travelled from Afrin to Turkey to launch the bomb attack.