DAMASCUS, SYRIA (10:30 P.M.) – On Wednesday, nine Syrian fighters who used to be loyal to the Turkish Army changed sides in northern Aleppo and joined the Manbij Military Council (MMC) instead, an affiliate of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).
The defectors, two of whom were child soldiers, explained they joined Euphrates Shield (Turkish military campaign) ranks last year to fight the Islamic State but once Al-Bab city fell, their commanders told them they would fight the SDF and MMC instead.
Unhappy with this decision, the group of former opposition militants went on to explain to the camera that the Turkish-backed factions in northern Aleppo were “nothing but gangs … fighting each other endlessly while looting civilian homes”:
With persistent rumours suggesting the Turkish Army intends to invade the Kurdish-held Efrin border region, at least one rebel group has refused to join the looming offensive in rural Aleppo.
Meanwhile a Kurdish commander announced the SDF might launch a preemptive counter-offensive to halt Ankara’s plans for northern Syria.