On December 13, heavy clashes broke out between militants of the Nour al-Din al-Zenki Movement and the al-Sham Liberation Army (SLA) in the Turkish-occupied area of Afrin in northern Syria.
The clashes erupted, when al-Zenki militants assaulted an SLA militant over a disagreement on the ownership of an apartment in the district of Jandaris. The SLA responded by launching an attack on al-Zenki in Jandaris’ center.
Hundreds of militants from both sides took part in the clashes, which lasted for most of the day. Heavy weapons were also used. This led to a state of panic among locals in Jandaris.
Al-Zenki is a part of the Turkish-backed Syrian National Army, while the SLA is not. The group was formed in Western Qalamun and later moved to Damascus’ Eastern Ghouta. In 2018, the group was expelled from the region by the Syrian military.
According to opposition sources, a militants of the SLA was killed in the clashes. Several other militants from both groups were reputedly injured.
The clashes ended following an intervention by the Free Military Police, a law enforcement body backed by Turkey. A reconciliation agreement between the leaders of al-Zenki and the SLA was reached.
Such conflicts are fairly common in Turkish-occupied areas in northern and northeastern Syria. Turkey does not usually intervene, likely to maintain ‘balanced’ relations with all of its proxies.
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