It seems as if the battle of Al-Bab has entered a new phase, mainly after the substantial gains made by the Turkish-backed Euphrates Shield against Daesh. Assad’s forces entered the battle and have advanced against the organization, capturing around 23 villages. This enabled them to reach the Euphrates Shield held areas in the region. Therefore, the Assad regime handed the villages of Om Amad, Sheikh Kayf, Nayrabiyah, Tel Rahal and Kharbasha Janourbi west of the city to the SDF being led by the YPG.
Turkey does not want to see a confrontation between their backed military factions and Assad’s forces in the battle of Al-Bab since they could cause the political reconciliations brokered by Russia during the Aleppo’s evacuation deal to collapse.
Commanders in the Euphrates Shield, including Mustapha Sijri, released statement recently in which they accused Daesh of attempting to hand over the city of Al-Bab to pro-regime Iranian militias in order to hamper the advances of the Euphrates Shield.
Sijri said, “We are trying to cut off the road between the Iranian militias and Daesh to foil the handing over of villages to them.” He added, “Of course, if we reach the front lines with the Iranian militias, there is no doubt that we would repel and prevent them from advancing to the city. Our military operations are still ongoing in order to surround and capture the city”
The Euphrates Shield factions captured recently the villages of Mazare’ Ghajran, Awassi, Al-Lawhjah and Al-Hassani which are located east of Al-Bab.