On Saturday, Turkish-backed Free Syrian Army (FSA) factions seized a further three village on the outskirts of al-Bab, thus narrowing in on the Islamic State stronghold.
Thus, the FSA – heavily supported by the Turkish Armed Forces – were able to capture Umm Shukyaf, Umm Adasah and Anifiyah, east of al-Bab in Aleppo province.
Meanwhile, the FSA also launched fresh assaults against the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) at Sab Wiran and Sheikh Nassir. However, these attacks were repelled while another Turkish tank was destroyed by the SDF on the outskirts of the villages.
On the other hand, the SDF finally captured the villages of Tall al-Jijan and Tall Unayb, west of Al-Bab, after prolonged clashes with the Islamic State.
The pro-government ‘Kafr as Saghir Martyrs’ Kurdish militia also advanced alongside the Syrian Arab Army’s (SAA) Republican Guard east of Aleppo city, thus capturing the villages of Khirbat Duwayr, Amad Taltinah, Shaalah, and Tal Al-Khashkhashat. During the SAA offensive, the SDF provided fire support against ISIS.
Notably, the latter advance puts Syrian government forces just 8 kilometers west of al-Bab, a prize which all warring parties hope to obtain.
Although the primary faction of the SDF is the Kurdish ‘People’s Protection Units’ (YPG), several other factions are also involved in fighting alonside the YPG in the region. These factions – united by the Manbij Military Council – also include:
► Al-Bab Revolutionaries Front (Arabs)
► Qabasin Martyrs Brigade (Kurds)
► Saljuk Brigade (Turkmen)
► Kaaibah Martyrs Brigade (Kurds)
► Ahrar Arima Brigade (Arabs)
► Martyr Silo al-Rai Brigade (mixed Kurds and Turkmen)
► Al-Bab Countryside Martyrs Brigade (mixed Kurds and Arabs)