DAMASCUS, SYRIA (10:45 P.M.) – Ahrar Al-Sham and Hay’at Tahrir Al-Sham (HTS/Al-Qaeda) are once again at each other’s throats after a ceasefire between the previously allied factions proved short-lived.
Some 48 hours after signing a truce covering all of Idlib province, the Ahrar Al-Sham leadership accused HTS of failing to comply to the agreement. This disagreement soon resulted in clashes between the two jihadist factions in several rural areas on Tuesday.
Thus, HTS militants stormed the main Ahrar Al-Sham checkpoint near Hazareen after which Al-Qaeda’s Syrian franchise branch captured the town itself and arrested a number of Ahrar Al-Sham fighters.
On the other hand, Ahrar Al-Sham overwhelmed HTS checkpoints in the town of Ableen, resulting in the death of at least one Al-Qaeda fighter with about a dozen more captured.
With the provincial ceasefire shattered, HTS prepared of convoy of some 250 insurgents and sent the vehicles towards the Jabal Al-Zawiyah area in the southern Idlib countryside which is known to be largely under Ahrar Al-Sham control. A major confrontation is effectively brewing.
Consequently, all preparations for large-scale offensives against the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) have been postponed due to rivalry and tensions between HTS, Ahrar Al-Sham, Free Syrian Army (FSA) groups and ISIS sleeper cells.