At least 6 commanders from the Ahrar Al-Sham Islamic Movement, including Abu Abdurrahman Salqin, were killed, and scores of others injured as two suicide bombers blew themselves up in the northern province of Idlib.
The two attackers, believed to be ISIS members, stormed a building in the town of Sarmin where the commanders held a high-level meeting, and detonated their explosives.
Ahrah Al-Sham, established in 2011, is a hadline Islamic group mainly active in Hama, Idlib and Aleppo. The Movement is engaged in fierce fight against both government forces and the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
In March 2015, Ahrar Al-Sham, along with al-Qaeda’s Syrian Branch “Jabhet Al-Nusra”, became the backbone of Jaysh Al-Fateh (Army of Conquest); an alliance of forces that includes different rebel factions recently established to fight the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) in northern Syria.
The newly-formed rebel alliance, backed and financed mainly by Saudi Arabia and Turkey, managed to take over large swathes in Idlib province, including Jisr Al-Shughour and Ariha.
The Group’s worst nightmares occurred in September 2014. Up to 40 commanders from Ahrar Al-Sham, including supreme commander Hassan Abboud, were killed as an unidentified suicide bomber detonated himself in an underground bunker in central Hama.
On July 12, 2015, the prestigious Washington Post published a prolonged interview with Labib Nahhas, head of foreign political relations of Ahrar Al-Sham, who slammed the Obama administration for denying the group a proper support to topple president Bashar al-Assad.