HTS militants entered Afrin: SDF
ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), a group formerly known as al-Qaeda's Syrian affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra, allegedly entered the occupied northwestern Syrian Kurdish region Afrin.
"The HTS is silently dominating the south and western areas of the occupied Afrin," reported the media center of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).
The SDF claimed the HTS entered the area after an agreement with Turkish-backed groups.
Alexander McKeever, an open-source investigator at Syrians for Truth and Justice, told Kurdistan 24 on Wednesday that "tensions between HTS and al-Jabhah al-Shamiyah have risen in the last week and the latter is threatening to enter SNA (Syrian National Army) territory."
However, he said, "there's no evidence that they have in any meaningful capacity."
"Images shared by local Telegram channels on the night of May 31 allegedly show a convoy of HTS and Ahrar al-Sham fighters outside the al-Ghazawiyah crossing into Afrin, but the identity and location of the vehicles seen have not been verified," he said.
He added that reports imply that these were Ahrar al-Sham fighters heading to Afrin to reinforce the group's established presence in the Jindires area.
HTS control Turkey's northwestern Idlib province, which borders Afrin. Turkish-backed Syrian militias have occupied Afrin since Turkey invaded the small enclave in early 2018.