Afrin’s factional clashes | Tense calm returns after expelling “Al-Hamza Division” members, and Division’s leadership issues a statement to appease public outrage
Aleppo Governorate – The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights:
SOHR sources say that the tense calm has returned to the city of Afrin after fierce clashes between “Al-Hamza Division” on one side, and gunmen from eastern Ghouta with other residents from Afrin on the other.
Meanwhile, members of “Al-Hamza Division” fled Afrin following the clashes.
On the other hand, the leadership of “Al-Hamza Division” issued a statement against the background of the fighting in the city of Afrin, denouncing the incident, while the Division’s leadership confirmed that an investigation will be opened into the incident and that the guilty members of the division will be held accountable and will be handed over to the military police and brought to justice to be punished.
The leadership also extended condolences to the families of the victims, stressing that “Al-Hamza Division sought to stand by and protect civilians and reject any attack against them”, the statement said.
The city of Afrin, which is under the control of Turkish-backed factions, has witnessed fierce clashes between “Al-Hamzat Division” and members of “Ahrar al-Sham” from Damascus’ Al-Ghouta. The clashes escalated as each side brought in military reinforcement, while Turkish-backed factions have cut off roads to Afrin and prevented the entry or exit from the city.
On the other hand, Al-Ghouta militants from “Ahrar al-Sham”, “Jaish al-Islam” and the 1st Division, in collaboration with other gunmen, were able to take over one of the headquarters of “Al-Hamzaat Division” and arrest its members. Meanwhile, these factions are still besieging several headquarters of Al-Hamzat in the area.
A gunman from Al-Ghouta was killed and others injured, while three members of “Al-Hamzaat Division” were killed.
Moreover, three people, including two children, were killed and six civilians, including three women, were injured in clashes and indiscriminate shootings.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitored earlier a fierce armed fight in the town of Afrin in north-western Aleppo countryside, between gunmen from “Al-Hamzaat Division” and displaced gunmen from eastern Al-Ghouta.
According to Observatory sources, the fighting followed an attempt by a military group affiliated with “Al-Hamzat Division” to rob a shop, the owner of which hails from the area of Irbin in eastern Ghouta. The gunmen tried to take some foodstuffs without paying, then escalated into clashes with machine guns, between the eastern Ghouta’s gunmen backed by some members of the Islamic faction “Ahrar al-Sham”, against members of “Al-Hamzat Division”, near Raju street in Afrin.