Several al-Qaeda-affiliated factions have established a new operations room in the northwestern Syrian region of Greater Idlib.
In a statement released late on June 12, the factions said that the new operations room, dubbed “Fa Ithbatu,” [be steadfast] was formed to “repel the assaults of the aggressors and break the plots of the occupiers.”
The operations room’s factions were named as the following:
- Horas al-Din;
- Ansar al-Din;
- Ansar al-Islam;
- Liwa al-Muqatlin al-Ansar;
- Tansiqiyat al-Jihad.
The Fa Ithbatu operation room will likely be succeeding the so-called wa-Harid al-Mu’minin operations room, which was formed in 2018.
Large terrorist groups, like Horas al-Din and Ansar al-Islam, were founders of wa-Harid al-Mu’minin. The new operations room, however, will also include factions led by terrorists who recently defected from Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham.
Liwa al-Muqatlin al-Ansar is being led by Abu Malek al-Tali, a prominent field commander that left HTS earlier this year. Sources in HTS claimed that al-Tali returned to the group later. However, these claims were not apparently accurate.
Tansiqiyat al-Jihad is led by Abu al-Abd al-Ashda, a former commander of HTS’ Umar ibn al-Khattab Army. Last year, al-Ashda exposed HTS’ corruption in a video message that went viral. The group arrested him. However, he was released soon after.
Some opposition activists claimed that the operations room will also include several smaller units led by commanders who apparently defected from HTS in secret. However, these claims are yet to be verified.
The presence of factions which are known to be hostile to HTS, like Horas al-Din, as well as defectors from the group itself indicates that the Fa Ithbatu operations room will be hostile towards the group.
The new operations room will likely work to sabotage the current ceasefire in Greater Idlib, which was brokered by Russia and Turkey on March 5.
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