HTS and FSA agree to stop clashes in Idlib; France will withdraw from Syria after reaching political settlement
Local and field updates:
On Thursday, the Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) and National Liberation Front of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) reached an agreement to stop clashes between both sides in the Idlib governorate, Northern Syria, and to subject the area to the HTS’ Salvation Government.
On Thursday, the HTS negotiated with the Ahrar al-Sham Islamist Movement for the fighters of the latter remain in areas controlled by the HTS in northern Hama, Central Syria, instead of leaving for the Afrin area in Aleppo, Northern Syria.
A military source from the Ahrar al-Sham reported that 1,500 of their fighters would leave for the Afrin area, which is controlled by the FSA factions after the HTS controlled northern Hama on the military and administrative levels.
The Ahrar al-Sham released Abdulsalam al-Qasem, the member of the Foundational Committee of the Salvation Government. On Wednesday night and Thursday morning, the Ahrar al-Sham arrested Qasem near the city of Maarrat al-Nu’man, southern Idlib. The reasons behind Qasem’s arrest was unknown.
The Free Idlib Police suspended its work until further notice due to the ceased support for the police centers in September 2018 and due to the recent circumstances in the area. The police added that it would hand its headquarters and equipment to the local councils in the area.
On Thursday, a Syrian government forces rocket shelling injured four children and a man from one family in the village of al-Tuh, southern Idlib. The Syrian government forces stationed in the village of Tall-Maraq and eastern the city of Khan- Sheikhoun shelled al-Tuh.
On Thursday, a Syrian government forces’ drone dropped bombs, injuring three fighters of the FSA’ al-Izzah Army, as they were guarding an outpost near the city of al-Lataminah, northern Hama.
A Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) rocket shelling killed two fighters of the National Army in the town of Kaljabrin in the Azaz area. The SDF targeted the fighters from the city of Tall-Rif’at.
On Thursday, the People’s Protection Units (YPG) arrested three people from their houses in the city of al-Tabaqa, 55 kilometers west of al-Raqqa, Northeastern Syria. The reasons behind the arrests remained unknown.
On Thursday, the Islamic State killed two SDF fighters in clashes on the edges of the city of al-Shu’fa, eastern Deir al-Zor, Eastern Syria. The clashes erupted as the SDF attempted to control the nearby village of al-Bubadran.
The residents of the city of al-Bukamal, southeastern Deir al-Zor, complained about the severe lack of bread due to the bakery’s breakdown a week ago, which forces the residents to buy bread from the village of al-Suwai’iyah or to make bread at home.
Political and international updates:
On Thursday, the French Foreign Minister Jean Yves Le Drian stated France would withdraw its forces from Syria after reaching a political settlement. Le Drian added that the major aim of the presence of the French forces in Syria is fighting the IS. Le Drian noted that the SDF’ security should be ensured on the international level if the United States (US) forces withdraw from Syria.
The US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo stated that Turkish threats of launching a military operation against the YPG in Syria would not prevent the US withdrawal from Syria.