Al-Qaeda-affiliated Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), the de-facto ruler of the northwestern Syrian region of Greater Idlib, has voiced its support for former rebels in Daraa.
The southern governorate experienced unrest in the last few days. An operation by the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) to secure the southern part of Daraa city, known as Daraa al-Balad, provoked former rebels who attacked dozens of army posts and checkpoints.
Greater Idlib factions, led by HTS, stepped up their artillery and rocket strikes on government-held areas in response to SAA strikes on the al-Zaway Mount in southern Idlib and in support of Daraa’s former rebels.
In an offical statement released on July 31, HTS vowed to escalate its attacks on “strategic” and “vital” positions in government-held areas around Greater Idlib as a part of operations “to support the al-Zawiya Mount and Daraa”.
“These operations will continue and escalate, God willing … The suffering of the people of Daraa is our suffering, their victory is our victory and their dignity is our dignity,” the statement reads.
HTS’ Turkish-backed allies have been taking part in these operations. On July 31, they released footage of some of their recent attacks on government-held areas.
HTS had a fairly large presence in Daraa before the military operation and reconciliation agreement of 2018. While there, the terrorist group fought with local rebels on a regular basis. Today, the group has very little supporters left there.
Despite HTS attempts to incite violence in Daraa, the conflict there is close to being resolved. The terrorist group’s repeated violations of the ceasefire agreement in Greater Idlib will not likely go unpunished.
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