DAMASCUS, SYRIA (1:50 P.M.) – After weeks of frontline lull in northeastern Aleppo, the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) withdrew from the town of Tadef on Saturday morning and regrouped to checkpoints on its proximity.
Effectively, the Turkish Armed Forces, Ahrar Al-Sham, Failaq Al-Sham and various Free Syrian Army (FSA) factions have taken control of most of Tadef while opposition activists began posting photos online of Turkish-backed rebel forces posing inside the town.
Tadef was otherwise liberated by the SAA from the Islamic State on February 26. The formerly government-held town is located less than two kilometers south of Al-Bab, a major rebel stronghold in rural Aleppo.
Since its capture, Tadef has been exposed to a daily Turkish artillery barrage while Islamist commanders reiterated their intentions to expel the SAA from the town.
With Tadef firmly under rebel control, Euphrates Shield Forces have established a much-needed buffer zone around Al-Bab. The fall of Tadef was likely facilitated by the bulk of the Tiger Forces leaving the region to address an insurgent offensive in northern Hama.
UPDATE: On Saturday afternoon, the SAA denied Euphrates Shield forces had captured Tadef and insisted government troops still held points inside the town. According to a source close to Al-Masdar News, Turkish-led militants control the northern sector of the town while the southern sector is disputed.