Five members of a Syrian opposition group were killed in clashes with the PKK terrorist group’s Syrian affiliate the People’s Protection Units (YPG) in northern Syria on Saturday.
The YPG troops and Turkey-backed Free Syrian Army (FSA) clashed after the first tried to infiltrate FSA frontlines in the northwestern Syrian town of Azaz on the border with Turkey, local sources said.
Sources said that the terrorists came from the area near the neighboring town of Tel Rifaat.
For the last three years, Tel Rifaat has been occupied by the YPG, which has dubbed the territory between Tel Rifaat and Manbij as the “Shahba Canton.”
The YPG occupied Tel Rifaat in 2016 in hopes of linking Afrin, a city in northwestern Syria, to areas under its control east of the Euphrates River, thus establishing a zone of influence along Syria’s border with Turkey.
Syria’s Al-Bab district, however, which is located between Tel Rifaat and Manbij, falls within Operation Euphrates Shield’s area-of-operations, thus disrupting the YPG’s sought-for territorial link.
In January 2018, the Turkish military and Free Syrian Army (FSA) elements launched Operation Olive Branch to clear Afrin district from terrorist groups, liberating the town center in March.
Some 250,000 refugees from Tel Rifaat and its outskirts have taken up temporary residence in the opposition-held city of Azaz, located adjacent to the Euphrates Shield zone.