By Eray Fox
On the 15th of July, the Turkish backed rebel groups, the Sultan Murad Division and the Samarkand Brigade (Part of al-Hamza Division) in Syria arrested 2 government soldiers in northern Aleppo. Northern Aleppo and the area stretching from Azaz to Jarabulus over al-Bab is under the control of various Turkish backed opposition groups, including the two mentioned above and Ahrar al-Sham aswell as others.
One government soldier was captured at dawn near 'the 'Shamawiyah'' village, which is located in NE Aleppo. The arrested government soldier was part of the ''Republican guards'',which is a ''elite'' group consisting of more then 15000 men. Republican guards have as main object defending the capital, Damascus.
Later that day, another government soldier was arrested by the Samarkand brigade. The location of the arrest was near Al-Kureidiyah village, Aleppo province. It is unclear how and why the government forces were arrested and why they came close to the rebel groups; there is an unofficial ceasefire between the two along this front.
On the 24th of August 2016, Turkish jets began striking ISIS positions and Free Syrian Army forces entered Syria from Turkish soil, capturing several villages. Later, the Free Syrian Army-affiliates captured Jarabulus, a border town previously held by ISIS. Turkish backed forces kept advancing and eventually reached the town of al-Bab, before fully capturing it on the 23rd February 2017.
After Euphratesshield forces captured Al-Bab, the last ISIS stronghold in northern Aleppo, government forces began advancing eastwards from Aleppo, eventually reaching Syrian Democratic Forces lines west of Manbij and cutting off the Euphrates Shield groups from advancing further southwards. Several dozen government forces were captured by the opposition groups since small clashes ended after the capture in al-Bab in the town of Tadef just south of it.