On Wednesday, October 19, Daesh retreated from several villages and towns near the Infantry School (near Tel Rifaat in northern Aleppo) in what was described as the most major retreat of the group in the region. The organization evacuated, along with families, all of the villages and towns such as Al-Wardiyah, Hasajek, Al-Hassiyah, Quslruj, Al-Husseiniyah farms and Al-Ghul, opening the way for the SDF to advance into the region without firing one single bullet.
An Aleppo 24 local source reported the looting of some civilian homes in the villages after the group fighters forced their owners to leave them. The retreating Daesh fighters have arrived in Masakana town, where a commander of the organization sold an Ezidi woman to the Hisbah amir in the town.
To prevent themselves from sustaining more casualties following the humiliating defeat in Dabiq, the group fighters decided to pull out of those villages and towns. Some have interpreted it as a purposeful retreat aimed at creating more tensions which would lead to armed confrontations between the SDF and the Euphrates Shield factions, which would also reduce the pressure on the group in Al-Bab.
In the same context, advancing SDF forces have shelled the area of Tel Maled, which was captured by the Euphrates Shield. In response, the Turkish air force struck the SDF positions in the town of Hasajek.
Local sources for Aleppo 24 reported that the Turkish aircraft bombed the SDF positions in their newly captured areas On Thursday at 12.00 am, killing 44 SDF fighters while around 16 of them have gone missing. The wounded were transported to hospitals in Afrin, where a funeral precession for the killed SDF fighters in the air strikes was held today. Turkish heavy artillery also shelled the village of Deer Balot in the area of Jandriss, rural Afrin.
Several Arab and Kurdish activists have expressed their concerns over a potential escalation of the military situation in Afrin and its countryside, which would put the lives of the locals and tens of thousands of displaced families from Aleppo at real risk.