On April 18, four units of al-Qaeda-affiliated Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), the de-facto ruler of the northwestern Syrian region of Greater Idlib, entered the town of Bosoufane in the Turkish-occupied area of Afrin.
HTS units were on a mission to establish positions in the town, which is located on the frontline with the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and Kurdish forces in northern Aleppo.
The attempt to occupy the town was met with anger from Turkish-backed militants. The National Front for Liberation (NFL) deployed reinforcements in the town. Militants from the two sides engaged in what was called a “fest fight”.
The stand-off between HTS and the NFL in Bosoufane came to an end when the SAA shelled the militants gathered in the town. No losses were reported.
According to the Sham Network, HTS claimed that its militants were only attempting to reinforce the town. However, the group was indeed trying to capture the town in order to open a direct smuggling route with Kurdish forces, which control a strip of land south of Afrin.
“HTS has been planning to advance towards Bosoufane, which is controlled by units from the NFL, for several months now,” the network said in a report. “The goal is to open a contact point for smuggling between its areas and the areas held by the [Kurdish] Syrian Democratic Forces.”
HTS attempt to enter Bosoufane is an example of how the group is constantly working to expand its influence in Syria. Turkey, which occupies Afrin and maintains a large force in Greater Idlib, does not appear to mind this.
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