Moments ago, Islamist rebel fighters – spearheaded by Free Syrian Army (FSA) factions – managed to storm and capture the village of Ayn Daqnah and the nearby Bailoneh hill (southeast of the village), thus wrestling the sites from Kurdish fighters.
Meanwhile, heavy clashes are reportedly taking place as we speak on the very near vicinity of the YPG-held village of Kafr Shashir.
Also, rebel sources claim their troops to be “at the northern gates” of Tall Rifaat, a major stronghold of Kurdish militants.
These renewed skirmishes make the first hostility between the Syrian Opposition and Kurdish groups in northern Aleppo since the YPG and Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) launched a major assault on the region two months ago.
Remarkably, today’s offensive comes amid the Islamic State capturing 5 villages from rebels in the very same region, thus hinting at a somewhat surprising rebel redeployment from the ISIS frontline to the Kurdish frontline.
The goal of today’s rebel advances are likely aimed at securing the southern flank of Azaz city and possibly even seizing the large town of Tall Rifaat, thereby reestablishing control over the highly important Azaz-Tall Rifaat-Mare’ axis and roadways.