HTS and NLF agree to end fighting and put Idlib governorate under Salvation Government control

Writing Mais Noor Aldeen | Editing Amena Riyad | Translation Maan Salti | Translation Editing Vera Halvorsen 🕔 Publication Date: January 10, 2019, 1:40:23 PM wire MILITARY Hayat Tahrir al-Sham

Idlib – SMART

On Thursday, the Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) and the National Liberation Front (NLF) of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) reached an agreement to end the fighting between the two factions in the Idlib governorate and putting Idlib under Salvation Government control.

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 NLF 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 agreement between the NLF and the HTS, which was published by HTS media outlets, mentioned that the two parties agreed to an immediate ceasefire and the release of the prisoners held by both parties.

The two parties also agreed to remove barriers and earth mounds, open all roads, and put the area under the management of the Salvation Government, which operates in HTS-controlled areas.

Activists circulated the content of the agreement, which was signed by the HTS, the Suqour al-Sham Brigades Commander Abu Issa al-Shaykh, and the Ahrar al-Sham Islamist Movement Commander Jaber Ali Basha. Media outlets affiliated with the Ahrar al-Sham published a copy of the agreement and said that it includes the Idlib governorate and its surrounding areas.

Activists said that the NLF has started to remove earth mounds in the Maarrat al-Nu'man and Ariha areas in Idlib in accordance with the agreement.

In the nearby Hama governorate, the HTS and the Ahrar al-Sham reached an agreement on Wednesday that included dissolving the Ahrar al-Sham factions in Hama and handing over heavy and medium weapons to the HTS. The agreement between the two parties also included transfering the control of the al-Ghab Plain and the Shahshabo mountainous area to the Salvation Government.

The dispute between the HTS and the NLF started days earlier, after NLF fighters killed four HTS members in the village of Talaadah in Idlib. Later, the two parties reached a truce, but the HTS attacked NLF locations in western Aleppo shortly after, accusing the NLF of violating the agreement.

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Writing Mais Noor Aldeen | Editing Amena Riyad | Translation Maan Salti | Translation Editing Vera Halvorsen 🕔 Publication Date: January 10, 2019, 1:40:23 PM wire MILITARY Hayat Tahrir al-Sham
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