Turkey reopens border crossing with Syria
KOBANI, Syrian Kurdistan (Kurdistan 24) – One of Syria’s main northwestern border crossings with Turkey reopened on Wednesday after a week of infighting between Syrian opposition armed groups in Idlib Province.
An official report on the website of the Bab Al-Hawa border crossing, north of Idlib city, announced the border was open for travelers and commercial trucks as well as humanitarian aid convoys.
Officials of the crossing on Wednesday told Reuters the Turkish authorities reopened it from their side as well.
“From today [July 26] commercial and cargo traffic has returned to normal, also passenger traffic after the Turkish authorities opened their side,” said Qassem al-Qassem, a border crossing official.
The crossing closed after two Syrian rebel groups fought for nearly a week.
Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, a rebel alliance spearheaded by the former al-Qaeda offshoot Nusra Front, encircled the crossing after three days of bloody fighting with its rivals Ahrar al-Sham, driving them out of the border area and most of the province.
A ceasefire deal that ended the rebel infighting forced Turkey-backed Ahrar al-Sham – which had been in control of the crossing for the last three years – to give up its military presence there and hand it over to a new administration.
The rebels’ infighting in Idlib, a key Syrian opposition stronghold, relieved pressure on the country’s Kurdish-held northwestern district of Afrin.
Afrin has been under fire by the Turkish army and their allies of Syrian rebels for about three weeks.
The Turkish and rebels’ bombardment of Afrin and the rebels’ infighting in the opposition areas in the country’s northwest occurred concurrently with the offensive launched by the US-backed Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) against the Islamic State in Raqqa city.
Bab Al-Hawa was a major international crossing before the Syrian civil war, handling billions of dollars of the overland trade from Europe to the Gulf through Syria.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany