Free Syrian Army advances in Aleppo

Exclusive photos: Free Syrian Army advances in Aleppo province
2 min read
15 Mar, 2018
With the support of the Turkish army, the FSA now controls Jondiers in Aleppo province. All photos by Aaref Watad.
The Turkish-backed fighters have surged into Aleppo province [Aaref Watad]

The Free Syrian Army, with the support of the Turkish army, now controls the Jondiers countryside in the north-west of Aleppo province.

The opposition militia, funded and trained by Ankara, are at the vanguard of Turkey's Operation Olive Branch to seize territory in northern Syria currently held by Kurdish groups.

The Kurdish People's Protection Units - the YPG - which controls three cantons of northern Syria along the Turkish border is, according to Ankara, the Syrian branch of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party - the PKK - which has fought a bloody insurgency in Turkey for nearly 35 years.

Ankara has therefore been more than apprehensive about a Kurdish armed group controlling swathes of land bordering the Turkish state.

The FSA has fought fierce clashes with the YPG, which is thought to have made deals with the regime of President Bashar al-Assad over the potential future granting of a degree of autonomy over Kurdish areas in exchange for keeping their fighting focused on the Islamic State group, and not on overthrowing the Damascus regime.

With cover from the Turkish airforce, the FSA stormed into Jondiers on March 7.

Aaref Watad, a Syrian photojournalist, sent us these exclusive pictures from Jondiers taken on March 8, as FSA fighters consolidated control of the area.

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Aaref Watad is a journalist and photographer from northern Syria.