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DAMASCUS, SYRIA (1:30 A.M.) – Clashes erupted throughout Idlib’s countryside again on Wednesday after a short-lived ceasefire between Ahrar Al-Sham and Hay’at Tahrir Al-Sham (HTS/Al-Qaeda) fell apart the day before.

With the infighting suddenly reaching unprecedented levels, HTS retook Salqin town and the Sharia court building on its outskirts after dislodging Ahrar Al-Sham from the area. Furthermore, HTS fighters overran Al-Dana town in the afternoon hours.

In the southern countryside, HTS also recaptured the city of Saraqib after heavy clashes with Ahrar Al-Sham that saw three of their commanders arrested, identified by Al-Masdar News as Abu Izzam Saraqib, Abdo Al-Zaeem and Abu Obaidah Al-Hamwi.

On Wednesday evening however, huge protests broke out in several neighborhoods of Saraqib as thousands took to the streets to demand Al-Qaeda’s departure. HTS responded with brute force, shooting dead three non-combattants, including opposition journalist Mosaab Izzo.

On the other hand, two Ahrar Al-Sham branches, namely the Al-Hujra Brigade and Fajr Al-Islam Brigade, announced they had defected to HTS.

With Al-Qaeda gradually achieving hegemony across all of Idlib, persistent rumours indicate that Turkey is prepared to launch a cross-border invasion in support of less hardline Islamist groups. This looming offensive, much similar to last year’s Euphrates Wrath campaign, would put Turkish troops and their allies face-to-face with tens of thousands of HTS militants.

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Student currently living in Denmark. Special focus on news from Syria, MENA map-making and strategical military analysis.

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Bill Purkayastha
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Long may they eradicate each other! I wholeheartedly wish both jihadi gangs total victory in this war!

I love Ahrar al Sham. Going by the number of their fellow terrorists they’ve bumped off they almost qualify as a Syrian government militia.

By the way, I’m almost certain I’ve seen that al Nusrat standing on the FSA flag before….in an ISIS video. These headchoppers seem to change affiliation the way you or I would change socks.

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Deo Cass

HTS are allied to Erdogan’s Turkey. Just renember as proof how HTS allowed Turkish troops to visit Khan Assal in Idleb to take wounded and dead victims of the alleged chemical weapons attack there.