Two weeks after al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) seized Azaz, a northwestern Syrian town along the Turkish border, the town is seeing another round of clashes after the AQI attacked a rival rebel faction, the Northern Storm.
The Northern Storm had fled to the outskirts of town after the initial takeover, and AQI had ordered them to surrender all their weapons by the end of Tuesday. They missed the deadline, sparking the attack.
A smaller and somewhat more moderate faction, Northern Storm’s influence is almost exclusively in the area around Azaz, which is strategically important because of its proximity to the Turkish border. The group was accused of kidnapping Shi’ite pilgrims who tried to cross through the region in 2012.
But while Northern Storm has more direct ties to the region than AQI, the locals in Azaz aren’t really rooting for either, with locals saying the border closure had made it harder for civilians to flee the civil war, and that they’d prefer both factions to leave the region and just leave them alone.
Last 5 posts by Jason Ditz
- Russia Will Provide S-300s to Syria to Defend Entire Airspace - September 25th, 2018
- Pompeo Slams EU Plan to Circumvent US Sanctions on Iran - September 25th, 2018
- US General: Removing Troops From Korea a Major Tactical Risk - September 25th, 2018
- South Korean President: Kim Is Serious About Giving Up Nuclear Bombs - September 25th, 2018
- US Adjusting Tactics as Afghanistan Casualties Rise - September 25th, 2018