Late on March 26, unidentified gunmen assassinated a militant of al-Qaeda-affiliated Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) in the northwestern Syrian region of Greater Idlib.
The slain militant, identified Ahmad Haj Issa al-Rai, was shot and killed near the town of Kah in northern Idlib, right next to the border with Turkey.
Al-Rai, who is known by his nom de guerre “Abu al-Bar’a,” was reportedly just a fighter in HTS military wing. The militant is originally from the town of Zitan in western Aleppo.
This was the second such attack on HTS personnel this week. A day earlier, two militants of the group were shot and killed by unidentified militants near the town of Termanin in northeastern Idlib. The town is also located near Turkey’s border.
No group has claimed responsibility for the last two attacks yet. Some activists in Greater Idlib held ISIS responsible, while others claimed that the attacks may have been carried out by opponents of HTS, or even the Russian or Syrian intelligence.
The recent attacks in Greater Idlib pose a real challenge to HTS, which has been working to strengthen its grip on the region for the last three years.
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