Syrian Islamic Council urges FSA to eliminate HTS in Northern Syria
Turkey - SMART
On Thursday, the Syrian Islamic Council called on the Free Syrian Army (FSA) to eliminate the Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) in Northern Syria.
The Syrian Islamic Council is headed by Osama al-Ri'fa'i and was established in Istanbul in 2014. The council is made up of 128 religious scholars and preachers who support the Syrian Revolution.
The HTS is an Islamist opposition faction previously known as the al-Nusra Front, consisting of fighting groups including the Haqq Brigade, Jabhat Ansar al-Din, and Jaysh al-Sunnah.
The council published a statement saying that the HTS kills and arrests civilians without cause and assaulted 15 FSA factions, weakening their position against the Syrian government forces. The statement added, “We urge the FSA to unite against the aggressor HTS to stop it from assaulting.”
The council called upon HTS fighters not to participate in the clashes against the FSA and urged revolutionary groups to protest against the HTS' practices.
The council made its statement after clashes re-erupted between the HTS and the FSA's National Liberation Front (NLF). The HTS attacked NLF outposts in the city of Darat Izzah in western Aleppo from the direction of villages of Taqad, Khan al-'Asal and Tarmanin, killing and injuring fighters on both sides and civilians.
On Wednesday, the clashes between the HTS and NLF expanded to eastern and southern Idlib after the NLF raised the alert to confront the HTS.
Days ago, a dispute emerged between the factions on the background of the killing of four HTS fighters by NLF fighters in the village of Tal 'Ada in the adjacent Idlib governorate. After the incident, both sides reached an agreement to settle the dispute; however, the HTS attacked NLF outposts in Western Aleppo, accusing the NLF of violating the agreement.