In an unprecedented move, a group of Euphrates Shield fighters defected and headed to areas controlled by Assad’s forces.
A private source indicated to Aleppo 24 that more than 25 fighters from the Euphrates Shield had fled to areas controlled by Assad’s forces near the Sukariyah village in the countryside of Al-Bab.
The source revealed that the number of defectors reached 25, 11 of whom were fighters belonging to the Turkish-backed Sultan Murat Division, 9 from the Sham Legion, 2 from the Jaysh Al-Ahfad and 3 others from the Safawah Battalion.
The sourced also added that the commander that coordinated the defection with Assad’s forces is named ‘Abu Al-Khayr’ from the city of Manbij. Four defectors were arrested while trying to cross into Assad-held territory at the Sukariyah 17 km east of the city of Al-Bab.
The initial investigations have concluded that the defectors had coordinated their operation with Assad’s forces during the Aleppo’s evacuation deal.
Some commanders of the FSA factions consider this type of defection as a sign that there are still Assad’s sleeper cells operating in their controlled territory.
The defections coincided with the renewing of clashes between Assad’s forces and Euphrates Shield factions in the countryside of Al-Bab two days ago.