Syrian rebel groups backed by Turkey end clashes, agree to truce

i24NEWS - Reuters

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Members of the 'Syrian National Army,' an alliance of Turkey-backed rebel groups, about 5 miles southeast of the city of Idlib in Syria, February 24, 2020.
Omar Haj Kadour/AFPMembers of the 'Syrian National Army,' an alliance of Turkey-backed rebel groups, about 5 miles southeast of the city of Idlib in Syria, February 24, 2020.

Northwest Syria is divided between jihadist groups and other rebel factions supported by Turkey

Armed rebel groups that are part of the Turkish-backed Syrian National Army coalition agreed to a truce on Sunday, ending clashes and easing fears of wider deadly warfare among opponents of President Bashar al-Assad's rule

A deal was mediated among Failaq al-Sham, Levant Front, Jaish al Islam, and Ahrar al-Sham, Reuters reported, citing rebel negotiators. The armed groups operating in northwest Syria near the Turkish border are part of the coalition against al-Assad’s regime.

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The territory is divided between the jihadist groups and other rebel factions supported by Turkey. 

Earlier on Saturday, eight rebels were killed in clashes between the groups near the city of al-Bab in the Aleppo province, raising fears that the conflict might expand to neighboring provinces. Under the current truce, the groups moved back to their initial positions and ended the fighting.

Turkey has supported the Syrian National Army since 2016, carrying out four military operations in northern Syria. 

The rebels - who lost much of the territory gained since the start of the civil war in 2011 to al-Assad's forces, backed by Russian and Iranian allies - recently announced their readiness to fight back any new incursion. 

Earlier in June, Syrian Democratic Forces, backed by the United States, announced they would coordinate with Damascus troops to fend off any Turkish invasion of Syria’s north. The prospect of launching a new offensive followed Turkey’s promise to “clear off terrorists” and push further into northern Syria. 

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