Lawlessness increases in last major rebel stronghold in Syria
Lawlessness is on the rise in Syria’s northwestern province of Idlib, which is the last major rebel stronghold in Syria, a war monitor reported on Monday.
On Monday morning, an explosive device went off in the town of Ariha in the southern countryside of Idlib, leaving one person wounded, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
It was the second explosion that hit the area within hours, after an explosion hit Idlib after midnight Monday, targeting rebels’ “Local Council” headquarter and leaving major damages with no confirmations on casualties, said the Observatory.
A day earlier, unknown armed men assassinated a member of the Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), the umbrella group of the al-Qaida-linked Nusra Front, in Idlib.
Similar incidents and explosions have been on the rise since April last year, which left more than 532 people killed, according to the UK-based watchdog group.
Turkey and Russia brokered a deal last September to impose a demilitarized zone in Idlib and its surrounding areas. However, violations are still being reported on an almost daily basis.
The extremist groups such as the Hayat Tahrir al-Sham refused to withdraw from the zone.
On the contrary, the HTS expanded and controlled the entire Idlib area.
Throughout the last couple of years, Idlib has emerged as the main destination and stronghold for the rebels fleeing other parts of Syria through deals or surrender.
Idlib is also of strategic significance as it shares a border area with Turkey in the north and neighbors the coastal province of Latakia, the hometown of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Notably, the namesake capital city of Idlib lies close to the international road linking the capital Damascus with the northern province of Aleppo.
Idlib is home to around 3.5 million people, including those who evacuated other Syrian areas after the surrender of rebels.
The Syrian government, while supporting the Russian-Turkish deal, said repeatedly that Idlib would inevitably return under the government control and that the government’s patience has limits. Enditem