The recent advances of the Syrian Arab Army in Idlib were facilitated by Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) retreat from its positions, which was not co-ordinated with other opposition groups active in the area, said former HTS commander Saleh al-Hamawi.
On his personal Twitter page al-Hamawi wrote that the three main “operation rooms” in Idlib agreed on a plan to repel the SAA offensive, but the HTS retreat caused confusion and was followed by a rapid SAA progress.
The first operation room, Rad al-Taghyan, includes Faylaq al-Sham, Jaysh al-Nasr, Jaysh al-Nukhba, 2nd Army, 40th Brigade and Free Idlib Army. The second one, called “Allah has power to grant them victory”, comprises Harakat Nur al-Din al-Zanki, Jaysh al-Izzah, Ahrar al-Sham and Jaysh al-Ahrar.
According to al-Hamawi, none of the groups was warned about the HTS retreat. After the militants discovered that HTS had left, they sent reinforcements to counter the SAA offensive, but the government troops had already established control over dozens of villages and huge swathes of the adjacent area.