On February 9, another large militant group, the Ansar al-Din Front, defected from the former branch of al-Qaeda in Syria, Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), according to a report of the Syrian pro-opposition new outlet Enab Baladi.
The media outlet said that Ansar al-Din confirmed in an official statement released on February 8 that it is “an independent” force ending a long standing debate about the relationship between it and HTS.
The Ansar al-Din Front had announced in an official statement released on September 14, 2017 that it had defected from HTS due to internal problems and the disrespect shown by HTS towards its religious scholars. However, several Syrian opposition activists denied that the group really defected back then.
The Ansar al-Din Front, the Nour al-Din al-Zenki Movement, Jaysh al-Ahrar and many other armed groups dissolved themselves and joined HTS on January 28, 2017. However, most of the major groups defected from HTS recently including the al-Zenki Movement that defected on July 20, 2017 and Jaysh al-Ahrar that announced its defection on September 13, 2017.
The defection of Saudi Abdullah al-Muhaysini and many other religious scholars from HTS on September 9, 2017 as well as the recent setbacks of the radical group in southern Idlib encouraged these armed groups to abandon HTS.
However, it’s highly unlikely that the defection of the Ansar al-Din Front will effect the HTS position as the strongest force in Idlib governorate. No other group there has enough financial or military resources to challenge HTS’ dominance.
If these groups are “defecting”, are they just abandoning the HTS and / or switching groups / sides ?. Whatever it is, sounds like good news to me.
These groups only co-operate when the going is good & there is enough loot to go around, now they’re all getting hammered & about a 1/3 of Idlib has been re-captured, they will turn on each other to grab what they can before the total collapse, there is no honour among thieves!
As a total side issue – this has just been announced:
“The Israeli army attacks Assad government and Iran`s militants locations at Al Kiswah, Damascus Sub, after the shot down of the Israel-i F/16″………..if true, the war has gone up a gear.
Israeli F-16 attacking Syria got targeted by Syrians SAM’s – the crash site in Israel:
Pilot died due to injuries from ejection, which F-16 planes have been having a problem with for some time now.
Ejection is dangerous process and pilot’s can break collarbones, break knees, bite through tongue and spinal fractures are not uncommon – but does F16 have any issues with narrow canopy layout that pilots hit hard on way out?
I did warn about Syrian air defenses getting better , they took down over 70% of the missiles in 3 attacks damaged a F-15 along with shooting down drones and the F-16I lost a pilot due to injuries from ejecting. The planes and aircraft were inside Syrian airspace and they were warned about violating the airspace. Just imagine if those air defenses weren’t damaged and destroyed by NATO special forces in 2011.
HTS says that Turkey sends only scrape to us in Idlib.
Ideally, this will just affect what hat they’re wearing when they finally get killed. But as of now things are still very messy. I’d guess there is some positioning for Turkish protection as they see the loyalists closing in.