People protest against HTS in Maarrat al-Nu’man, southern Idlib
Idlib - SMART
Dozens of people demonstrated after the Friday prayers in the city of Maarrat al-Nu’man, 34 kilometers south of Idlib, Northern Syria, protesting the Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) and supporting the Free Syrian Army (FSA) in their fight against the HTS.
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 demonstrators raised the Syrian Revolution flag and banners denouncing the HTS and considering it a “cancer in the area” and “similar to the Islamic State (IS) and the Syrian government forces.”
The demonstrator al-Laith Abu al-Assi said that they protested against those who exploited the Syrian Revolution, adding that people toppled the IS and will also topple the Syrian government and the HTS.
Another demonstrator, Ahmad Alwan, said that the demonstrators support the FSA in their fight against the HTS, adding that the HTS does not belong in the area.
Two days earlier, clashes between the FSA and the HTS started in villages and towns of western Aleppo and spread to villages in southern and eastern Idlib. The HTS advanced into the FSA areas, killing and injuring members from both sides and civilians.
A few days earlier, the HTS and the National Liberation Front (NLF) of the FSA engaged in clashes after NLF members killed four HTS members. The clashing parties agreed to end the infighting, but the HTS attacked NLF locations in western Aleppo, accusing the NLF of violating the agreement.