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Fighters defect from Ahrar al-Sham Islamist Movement in al-Tah town, southern Idlib

Editing: Obaida Al Nabwani |
TranslationEditor: Vera Halvorsen |
Translation: Maan Salti
Publication date: 2019/01/09 21:30

Idlib - SMART

A group of fighters from the Ahrar al-Sham Islamist Movement in the town of al-Tah, 44 kilometers south of Idlib, Northern Syria, announced defecting from the movement and maintaining posts at the frontlines against the Syrian government forces in coordination with the Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS).

The Ahrar al-Sham Islamist Movement is a part of the National Libereation Front (NLF), which is an opposition group formed by the two Sunni Islamist groups Ahrar al-Sham and the Nour al-Din al-Zenki Movement. The NLF is the main rival of the HTS in Northwestern Syria.

The HTS military wing issued a statement pledging not to prosecute the faction members who fought against the HTS in the areas it gained control of recently, especially the fighters of the Ahrar al-Sham Movement and the Suqour al-Sham Brigades.

The HTS called on the fighters at the frontline against the Syrian government forces to maintain their posts, while issuing a ban preventing the factions of the Shahshabo mountainous area and the al-Ghab Plain in Hama from trading or hiding their weapons after their dissolution.

Activists said that HTS members stormed the house of Ahrar al-Sham commander Hussam Salamh in the town of Jarjanaz, southern Idlib, and headed to storm a Suqour al-Sham Brigades' former headquarters in the town. No information about other arrests was reported.

Media outlets affiliated with the HTS said that the Ahrar al-Sham arrested the attorney Abdul Salam al-Qasim, a member of the foundational committee of the Salvation Government operating in HTS-controlled areas. Abdul Salam was the head of the Salvation Government's local council for the city of Mourik, Hama.

On Wednesday, the HTS and the Ahrar al-Sham agreed to dissolve the Ahrar al-Sham action factions in the Shahshabo mountainous area and the al-Ghab Plain, Hama, and for the fighters of the groups to hand over their heavy weapons to the HTS while keeping their personal weapons.

On Tuesday, the HTS gained control of the villages of al-Ankawi and al-Amiqah in Idlib after clashes between the HTS and the Ahrar al-Sham started in western Aleppo days earlier, expanding to southern and eastern Idlib.