BEIRUT, LEBANON (8:45 P.M.) – Inter-rebel tensions in Idlib Governonate have escalated with rival militant factions now moving beyond arresting and executing each other’s forces in opportunistic attacks to preparing for a conventional war.
Today the Ha’yat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) jihadist group suddenly took over a hill in northern Idlib near the Turkish border and fortified it with tanks and heavy weapons; the hill happens to overlook Ahrar Al-Sham bases in the Bab Al-Hawa area.
Ahrar al-Sham responded by issuing a statement accusing HTS of preparing to attack their bases in the area and vowing to fight back if the jihadist group did so. The statement clarified that Ahrar al-Sham would not initiate any attack against HTS, but would stand its ground and repel any assault by HTS, with all means available, if this was to happen.
This develop comes amid reports, yet to be verified, that some 100 ISIS fighters and their families – fleeing from Raqqa – arrived into HTS-held areas of Idlib where it is supposed they might join HTS.