Assassinations strike Idlib following cessation of infighting between Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, the Syrian Liberation Front and al-Suqur al-Sham Brigades

تحرير حسن برهان | ترجمة محمد غيث | تحرير الترجمة Freda Hocaine 🕔 تم النشر بتاريخ : 27 أبريل، 2018 10:06:22 م تقرير حي عسكري هيئة تحرير الشام

The people of the Idlib governorate barely had the chance to catch their breath following months of infighting between al-Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) on one side and the Syrian Liberation Front and al-Suqur al-Sham Brigades on the other, before they were struck by a series of killings and explosions which have claimed the lives of both civilians and military commanders in the governorate.

22 civilians and fighters have been killed in two days.

Local activists documented the killing of 12 commanders and fighters belonging to different Islamist battalions, as well as four civilians and several people. The perpetrators of these attacks are still unknown.

The series of assassinations began with the shooting of a military commander from the Jaysh al-Ahrar, called Abu Salim Binnish by an unknown assailant at the edges Binnish city. The series followed the killing Abu al-Ward Kafr Batikh (who is a commander of the HTS) along with a fighter near Maarrat al-Nu’man and Jisr ash-Shughur. Later, four fighters of the Islamic Turkistani Party (most of its fighters are foreign) were shot, north and west of Idlib. Unknown shooters killed three fighters of the Hamza Ibn al-Muttalib battalions near the town of Maarrat Misrin, a fighter of the Syrian Liberation Front, and another fighter, in separate attacks.

The activists reported that unknown shooters killed two people and injured a third in the city of Khan Sheikhoun, south of Idlib. A person was killed on al-Thalatheen street in the city of Idlib. Unknown shooters also killed another person on Ain al-Sawda road in the Jisr ash-Shughur countryside, and a pharmacist in the village of Joubas in Eastern Idlib.

Unknown shooters planted a bomb, killing three children and their mother and injuring the fourth child and his father, in the village of Beer al-Tayeb, northwest of Idlib. Unknown shooters also killed two guards at the al-Nayrab village mosque, east of Idlib, following the end of Jum’a Prayers, according to the activists.

Abdullah al-Muhaisani, the Shari’a judge who is close to Islamist battalions, survived an assassination attempt at the edges of Saraqib city, after a landmine explosion hit his vehicle, injuring his escort. Al-Muhaisani said on Telegram that the assassination attempt on him came following his attendance of a meeting between the HTS and the Syrian Liberation Front. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the issue of swapping captives between the two sides. Mustafa Haj Ali, the manager of the media directorate in the Idlib Education Directorate, survived an assassination attempt near the village of al-Nayrab.

The Salvation Government, operating in areas controlled by the HTS, declared a state of emergency in the Idlib governorate, north of Syria, following a series of explosions and assassinations. The Syrian government declared a red alert on the Ministry of the Interior and deployed 24-hour security patrols in cooperation and coordination with civil committees of the neighborhoods and villages.

The Salvation government accused the Syrian government forces of involvement in the explosions and assassinations, as an attempt to stir infighting between opposition military factions and Islamist battalions, and to spread chaos and terror amidst civilians, according to the Syrian government.

Activists and politicians in Idlib doubted that the Syrian government declared a state of emergency. The Syrian government lacks the support of all factions and its leverage is limited to the city of Idlib and some surrounding villages.

An activist from Idlib, who prefered to remain unknown for security reasons, reported that the Salvation Government is unable to impose any decision on the factions as some of them (the factions) think the Syrian government is connected to the HTS. The activist added that the major factions (the HTS and the Syrian Liberation Front) are able to control security in the Idlib governorate, but not the Syrian government.

They reported that the Syrian government forces and the Islamic State (ISIS) are suspected to be involved in the assassinations, noting that the Syrian government forces seek to destabilize Idlib, while ISIS attempts to take revenge on the factions for not releasing ISIS fighters who surrendered in the village of al-Khouain, south of Idlib. ISIS and the factions agreed to release the fighters after two months, but the factions did not commit to the agreement.

Radwan al-Atrash, the head of the Political Committee in Idlib, attributed the assassinations to the lack of security coordination between the factions and the lack of authority given to the Free Police to handle this issue.

Al-Atrash added that the work of the Salvation Government is limited to the city of Idlib, while sustaining security in the rest of the governorate, is the duty of the factions controlling the area. Al-Atrash held the Salvation Government and factions responsible for the security chaos, which terrorizes the local populations.

Media activists published a statement calling upon fighters in the area not to cover their faces. The activists also called upon factions to assume the responsibility of protecting civilians. The activists added that masked faces have become a source of terror and worry for civilians, and masks are a means of concealing security operations against civilians and fighters.

While the assassinations struck the factions, neither have commented formally nor have they undertaken any steps to control security. Local activists reported that factions on the ground have not taken action.

The HTS, the Syrian Liberation Front, and the Suqur al-Sham Brigades ceased months of infighting in Idlib and Aleppo, which killed and injured civilians, and isolated the two governorates using checkpoints and sand mounds.

الاخبار المتعلقة

تحرير حسن برهان | ترجمة محمد غيث | تحرير الترجمة Freda Hocaine 🕔 تم النشر بتاريخ : 27 أبريل، 2018 10:06:22 م تقرير حي عسكري هيئة تحرير الشام
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