US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces clash with Islamists northern Aleppo

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A Kurdish fighter from the SDF is seen during clashes with ISIS militants in southeastern Hasakah. Photo: ARA News

ARA News 

ALEPPO – Subsequent to fierce clashes with the western-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), Islamist rebels were able Wednesday to recapture areas in Syria’s northern province of Aleppo, local sources reported. 

Local activists confirmed that a number of Islamist factions, backed by Turkish artillery shelling, were able to deter an SDF-led offensive on their positions and seize control of areas fell to the latter earlier on Tuesday.

The SDF forces include the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), Arab and Christian fighters –mainly supported by the United States in the war on radical Islamists. 

Speaking to ARA News, media activist Walid al-Sheikh, based in the town of Sheikh Issa in Aleppo province, said that the Sham Corps and the First Regiment along with other militant fighters were able to repel an SDF-led attack towards the town of Sheikh Issa after the latter took over a number of nearby villages.

“Both sides have used mortar shelling, but the SDF were forced to retreat towards their positions in the town of Tel Rifaat,” he reported.

In February, the YPG forces, baked by SDF allies, took control of major parts of the strategic Tel Rafaat town, which has been one of the main supply routes for the radical Islamist groups in northern Aleppo

The source also confirmed that sporadic clashes continued between the two sides on Wednesday midnight on the road connecting Tel Rafaat with Sheikh Issa, without reports of progress by any party. 

Over the past few weeks, the US-backed SDF attempted to advance towards the towns of Sheikh Issa and Maree, but Islamist opposition factions were able to repel the progress of these forces. Also, ISIS has been trying to break into the strategic town of Maree in Aleppo’s northern suburbs.

After the Kurdish forces and SDF allies have cut off the Azaz-Tel Rafaat road subsequent to fierce clashes with militants of Nusra Front and the Islamic Movement Ahrar al-Sham, “the SDF became able to make larger gains against the Islamists in the northern countryside of Aleppo,” according to Kurdish military sources.

Reporting by: Taim Khalil

Source: ARA News

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