SDF captures Tel Rifaat in northern Syria
TELL RIFAAT, Syria (K24) - The Kurdish-Arab alliance forces have announced the liberation of the town of Tel Rifaat, north of Aleppo from al-Qaeda affiliates, a Kurdish military official on the ground told K24 on Monday.
Tarek Abu Zeid, Spokesperson for Army of Revolutionaries (Jaysh al-Thuwar ), told K24 that Tel Rifaat is fully under the control of Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) and Army of Revolutionaries.
Abu Zeid said SDF forces launched the assault on extremists in Tel Rifaat on two fronts. "The first [YPG] units engaged in clashes with extremists from the west of the town while the other section started an attack from the northern flank," he said.
The first group arrived at the western part of the town on Sunday, while the second group purged several small centers and villages to open up the path to Tel Rifaat and subsequently arrived in the northern areas on Monday.
Tel Rifaat is a strategic town on the road between Aleppo and Azaz, an area that Turkey considers a 'red line' for Syrian Kurdish territorial ambitions.
Turkey vowed on Sunday that it would not allow Kurdish forces to capture the militant-held city of Azaz close to its border.
Turkey is infuriated by Kurdish expansion and general influence in northern Syria, fearing it will encourage separatist ambitions among Kurds in Turkey as well. Currently, YPG controls nearly all of Syria's frontier border with Turkey.
The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and their allies, including Army of Revolutionaries have been combating Islamic State (IS) under the umbrella of SDF.
Reporting by Hisham Arafat
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany and Benjamin Kweskin