Jihadists in Idlib share power amid reports about the preparation of Damascus and Russia’s new offensive in the Syrian province. Main group of the region — “Hayat Tahrir al-sham” (HTS banned in Russia) — faced with an unexpected problem: finding HTS insufficiently radical, a number of militants left her and entered new structure, the headquarters of the operational command called “And persevere”. On Friday it reported that the jihadists had managed to negotiate a truce. Meanwhile, experts stress that the ongoing split is beneficial to all: both Russia and Turkey, and the Syrian authorities and the moderate opposition in the country.Fights broke out in the night of Tuesday around the Central prison of Idlib. Members of the groups that created the joint operational command headquarters entitled “be persistent”, set checkpoints (PPC) in the area and captured the prison. In response HTS placed there by heavy equipment and required to dismantle the checkpoint, but was refused. In four days of clashes killed about 30 people.The differences between HTS and other jihadists in Idlib escalated in mid-June, after the establishment of the command headquarters. It included “Hurras ad-DIN” — the Syrian branch of “al-Qaeda” (banned in Russia) and four other groups linked to the international terrorist organization. In this case, two of them previously out of HTS. Headquarters declared its purpose to “fight the invaders” — that is, with the Syrian army and its allies.After the formation of staff reported new cases of escape from HTS. And the group has decided not to leave the situation to chance. For several days last week was arrested several “fugitives”: a former warlord HTS Abu Malik al-Tali (the famous kidnapping of the nuns and the Lebanese military; 2018 repeatedly expressed disagreement with the Russian-Turkish agreement on the ceasefire in Idlib) and a native of CIS Abu Salah al-Uzbeki (sirozhiddin Mukhtarov). Both of them joined groups that are included in the operational headquarters, and urged to follow the example of other fighters. Another Uzbek radical Islamists — Abu Rofik (Sukhrob Baltabayev) — was killed. In connection with the jihadists who defected to the “steadfast”, were also arrested in Idlib came from UK Abu Hussam al-britani, is known for its humanitarian activities in the province.HTS accused of “fugitives” that they encouraged others to follow their example, and issued rules to get out of the group. In particular, the need to obtain the approval of a special Commission, which does not have the right to join other groups or create your own.According to the representative “And be steady,” stated in an interview with the online edition of Syria Direct, arrests AB�� Malik al-Tali and other people are intended to interfere with “military reforms to prevent the fall of the territories.” As noted based in London and is close to the Syrian opposition monitoring Centre for human rights, arrests relating to agreements between Turkish intelligence and HTS to get rid of all who refuse compliance with a recent agreement on a ceasefire in Idlib, signed by Moscow and Ankara in March. But at the same time, according to the monitoring Center, the arrest of Abu Malik al-Tali, is that he used significant cash resources to Finance operations, “And persevere” (that is, first and foremost, the conflict is financial, not ideological in nature).Earlier this week the leader of “al-Qaeda” Ayman al-Zawahiri urged the conflicting parties to stop fighting each other and focus on the “revolution in Syria”. To reconcile HTS and “stable” tried and sheikhs in Idlib. In the end, on Friday, the agreements still managed to reach: it was announced about signing of the agreement on the cessation of hostilities, the opening of all crossings and the unimpeded exit from this area of all civilians and fighters. But in some areas clashes did not stop.Note that almost simultaneously with the formation of a staff “And persevere” international coalition led by the United States conducted several operations in Idlib on the elimination of leaders “Hurras al-DIN”. In particular, was killed the actual leader of the group, Sheikh Khaled Arouri, who at the time was Deputy and son-in-law (sister’s husband) of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the founder of “al-Qaeda” in Iraq, from which later grew the group “Islamic state” (banned in Russia). Khaled Arouri fought in Syria in 2015. “Hurras ad-DIN” confirmed his death to the environment.”After winter operations in Idlib Damascus of groups associated with “al-Qaeda”, strengthened their positions due to the outflow of militants from HTS. And it responded to US”,— said “Kommersant” the expert of the Russian Council on international Affairs Kirill Semenov. According to him, now HTS and groups close to “Hurras al-DIN”, control about 60% of Idlib province, and the rest — for the loyal to the Turkish forces of the moderate opposition (“National liberation front” and the Syrian national army). The expert also noted that if the conflict in Idlib was mainly between the moderate opposition and radicals, now have themselves jihadists came into confrontation with each other.”As for Turkey, it is beneficial to the dissolution HTS. According to the agreements it two years ago promised to conduct demarcation between the moderate opposition and the radical militants. What happens radicals go to “Churras ad-DIN” and the company, and those who denounce jihadism, earDYT in the moderate opposition, which intensified with the support of Turkey, will be able eventually to eliminate radicals. Everyone is happy,”— said Kirill Semenov.At the same time, Moscow stresses that will not allow you to rebrand HTS. This was in mid-June, said the permanent representative of the Russian Federation to the UN, Vasily Nebenzia. According to him, Russia expects that Turkey will fulfill its obligations to neutralize the terrorists in Idlib.Against this background, the Arab media reports about the plans of Damascus to start a new offensive in Idlib, with the support of Russia. In recent days there have been increasing reports of clashes between the Syrian moderate opposition with government forces following the transfer of Turkey’s new weapons loyal to her groups. Appear and news about the shelling of areas surrounding Idlib, from fighters. In addition, this week was the first since March, a drone strike on the Russian air base Hamim. “Normally such messages — a sign of preparation of the offensive from Damascus,”— said Kirill Semenov.Marianna Belenkaya, S. Tanner
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