المرصد السوري لحقوق الانسان
The Syrian Observatory For Human Rights

Violent clashes between Al-Tahrir and Al-Ahrar rock Idlib Province

Battles continue in Idlib Province between the main factions operating there. The SOHR learned that clashes continue, with a varied pace of violence, between Hayyaat Tahrir Al-Sham and Ahrar Al-Sham Movement. Clashes were centered in the towns of Sarmada, Hazarin, Khan Al-Sobol, Al-Habit, Kafruma, Saraqeb, Ihsem, Eblin and other areas in Jabal Al-Zawiyah and in the vicinity of Al-Hamidiya village, south of Maarrat al-Nu’man city. It was through such clashes, that Ahrar Al-Sham Movement managed to take control of Sarmada and Kafruma towns and the villages of Frekya, Al-Maghara, Marzaf, Shnan, Benneen, Eblin, Shnan, Kadoura, Ma’rbleet, Rowayha, and Deir Sneil in Jabal Al-Zawiyah. In addition, Hayyaat Tahrir Al-Sham Movement had taken control during the last few hours of last night of Frekya, Al-Maghara, Marzaf, Shnan, Benneen and Kafruma before Ahrar Al-Sham Movement regained control over them. Clashes and exchanged targeting caused the death of two civilians in Sarmada town and confirmed information was reported about the death of 8 fighters from both sides in Sarmada. In addition, two commanders in Ahrar Al-Sham Movement were killed in Al-Habit town by Hayyaat Tahrir Al-Sham it had taken control of the town and their bodies are still in the possession of the latter. Moreover, Hayyaat Tahrir Al-Sham managed to take control of Hazarin town. Clashes also broke out between both parties in areas at the outskirts of Saraqeb town, causing the death of a rebel fighter of Ahrar Al-Sham Movement. The SOHR also learned that Hayyaat Tahrir Al-Sham took control of ‘Abdeen and Al-Habit in the southern countryside of Idlib, while Ahrar Al-Sham managed to take control Hish village in the same countryside. Clashes also continue in Hazarin town, the largest part of which is under the control Tahrir Al-Sham and over which Ahrar Al-Sham Movement is trying to gain control, amid demonstrations and protests calling for sparing the town the scourges of such fighting. .

On the other hand, Hayyaat Tahrir Al-Sham opened fire with heavy machine-guns on Bab Al-Hawa area and as a result clashes broke out between them and Ahrar Al-Sham Movement. Casualties as a result of such targeting were confirmed. Meanwhile, other areas and checkpoints witnessed fighting and exchange of targeting between both parties. The SOHR also learned that Hayyaat Tahrir Al-Sham executed several members of Ahrar Al-Sham Movement in Al-Habit town in the southern countryside of Idlib. The SOHR published last night that several areas in Idlib city and its countryside are witnessing persisting tensions accompanied by an alert in the ranks of the main factions operating in the Province. The SOHR learned that tensions surfaced against the backdrop of opening fire on a demonstration in which the Syrian Revolution banner was raised in Al-Saha Square in Idlib city, causing the injury of 3 persons at least. The protestors and the residents of the area accused fighters of Hayyaat Tahrir Al-Sham of opening fire on the demonstration; one day after unknown persons had raised black banners that read “there is no god but Allah and that Muhammad is Allah’s messenger”. Local sources confirmed that banners were raised in the public squares and that some accused Hayyaat Tahrir Al-Sham of raising such banners as a reaction to raising the Syrian revolution banner. Violent clashes followed such tensions between Hayyaat Tahrir Al-Sham and Ahrar Al-Sham Islamic Movement in the areas of Eblin, Ihsem, Hazarin, Kafruma, and Maratah. Clashes then extended to Al-Habit area and other areas in Idlib Province as a result of an attack launched by Hayyaat Tahrir Al-Sham on most of the areas and of counter attacks carried out by Ahrar Al-Sham on positions of Hayyaat Tahrir Al-Sham fighters. This was accompanied by clashes and exchange of shelling. Casualties were reported at both sides. In addition, a woman was killed amid confirmed information about the fall of positions and locations of Tahrir Al-Sham under the control of Ahrar Al-Sham. Meanwhile, several other areas in Idlib countryside witnessed demonstrations and protests calling for halting the fighting and civilians called upon Hayyaat Tahrir Al-Sham to stop their hostilities against civilians and the holders of the Syrian revolution banner, amid information about the arrest of fighters from both sides and accusations by Ahrar Al-Sham that the fighters of Tahrir Al-Sham had arrested the Chair of Jabal Al-Zawiyah Court.

A state of alert prevailed among the members of Ahrar Al-Sham Movement and Hayyaat Tahrir Al-Sham 3 days ago against the backdrop of clashes that took place between both parties in the vicinity of Tal Toqan area. Local sources confirmed that both Ahrar al-Sham and Tahrir al-Sham brought reinforcements and fortified their positions and points in the vicinity of Tal Toqan and Saraqeb, amid warnings issued by the residents of Saraqeb town, that they will respond to any attack on their town, while mediations are being carried out by military and “Sharia” figures to reach comprehensive de-escalation truce, after talks about an agreement reached between both parties to exchange captives and prisoners and to appoint a “Sharia Committee” to settle the dispute and remove the checkpoints set by both parties. Local sources informed the SOHR on Friday night that violent clashes broke out between the fighters of Hayyaat Tahrir Al-Sham and those of Ahrar Al-Sham Movement in Tal Toqan area in the eastern countryside of Idlib. Local sources also confirmed that clashes came as a result of an attack by Hayyaat Tahrir Al-Sham on the town where Ahrar Al-Sham Movement is present, causing several injuries. Preliminary information was reported about the fall of civilian fatalities. However, information about the party that managed to take control of the village was still contradictory. Local sources believed that such clashes broke out as a result of a dispute that arose between both parties over electricity access and the operation of the water company. The area is currently on alert, amid fears of escalation.

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