BEIRUT, LEBANON (11:50 A.M.) – According to the Ha’yat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) jihadist group, sleeper cells loyal to the so-called Islamic State have carried out sixty (60) bomb attacks throughout the rebel-held Idlib Governonate in the month of June.
HTS media has released two propaganda videos covering the consequences of the ISIS bombings and the subsequent crackdown by HTS policing forces throughout Idlib against suspected ISIS sleeper cells.
According to HTS, its policing forces have so far detained 120 suspects, killing twenty of them.
Among all the major militant groups that occupy Idlib, the Al-Qaeda-linked HTS group is the strongest in terms of manpower and equipment. In recent months there has been infighting between HTS and other rebel groups – namely Ahrar al-Sham and the Free Syrian Army (FSA).
In most cases, HTS has been able to – due to its greater strength and subsequent bargaining power – settle disputes with Ahrar al-Sham and the FSA on its own terms.
However, ISIS also operates in Idlib, although not as a standing military force to the likes of what can be seen in central and eastern Syria.
In any case, ISIS conducts itself in Idlib as a traditional underground terrorist movement, carrying out assassinations and bomb plots against rival factions, including HTS.
Despite the fact that both ISIS and HTS are jihadist groups and that both also originate from the Al-Qaeda terror network, their sense of commonality in Idlib could not be more alienated. Above ideology, both seek political and economic dominance of the region first and foremost.