Free Syrian Army And Ahrar al-Sham Form New Operation Room In Idlib As Tensions Grow In Governorate

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On February 3, the Ahrar al-Sham Movement and ten other armed groups in Idlib governorate announced in an official the statement that they had formed a new joint operations room named “Rad al-Ghuzat” to repel the ongoing attack of the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) in southern Idlib.

Free Syrian Army And Ahrar al-Sham Form New Operation Room In Idlib As Tensions Grow In Governorate

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Several US-backed Free Syrian Army (FSA) groups joined the operations room including Jaysh al-Nasir, Jaysh al-Izza, the Free Idlib Army, Faylaq al-Sham, the Elite Army, the First Infantry Division and the Second Army. Moreover, several radical groups like Jaysh al-Ahrar and the Nour al-Din al-Zenki Movement [both defected from Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) only few months ago] also joined the new operations room.

In their statement, the eleven groups vowed to launch offensive and defensive operations against the SAA and its allies in the governorates of Idlib, Hama and Aleppo.

HTS, the Ahrar al-Sham Movement, the FSA and the Nour al-Din al-Zenki Movement formed several joint operations room during the last few months. However, all of these attempts to unify their efforts against the SAA failed.

Syrian pro-government activists believe that the announced joint operations room is nothing more than a propaganda stunt that’s aimed at foiling the angry opposition supporters in Idlib governorate.

The tensions between the civilians and the armed groups in Idlib took a serious turn on February 2 when dozens of civilians in the town of Binnish in the eastern Idlib countryside protested against the FSA and HTS leadership. The protestors even stormed and destroyed a security office of HTS in the town.

HTS rapidly reacted deploying hundreds of fighters around Binnish and besieging all the civilians inside. On early February 3, HTS fighters entered the city and began attacking the homes of the protestors, killing at least one civilian and injuring dozens others, according to Syrian opposition activists.

After arresting dozens of civilians and reestablishing its security offices and checkpoints inside Binnish, HTS fighters withdrew. Many civilians and opposition supporters, including supporters of HTS condemned the attack on Binnish. The town is located only 12km north of the city Saraqib that’s under attack by the SAA.

Local experts believe that what happened in Binnish will likely repeat in many other villages and towns across Idlib in the near future, as the tensions continue growing in the governorate.

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  • gold37

    What do you expect? You made a deal with the devil so lay in it. The people of Syria will always remember what Binnish and Taftanaz ‘civilians’ did to them.

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  • Wegan

    A counter-counter insurgency. So HTS thought they can keep the city forever. The general pop just realized that they were worse off than with the Syrian government.
    Long term strategy of Turkey and the US-Israel was doomed to fail. All Assad had to do is wait.

  • Pave Way IV

    “…[head-choppers, inc.] formed a new joint operations room named “Rad al-Ghuzat” to repel the ongoing attack of the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) in southern Idlib…”

    Otherwise affectionately known as The Rat Shack

    • Potato Potato

      FSA were Islamists back in 2011. They were never a “better option”.

  • Anthony Paul Mapes

    I would normally post something semi analytical however… I think I have come up with a new drinking game, every time they announce or say “joint operations room” you take a shot!

    What you reckon?

    • PZIVJ

      I am sure Russia is looking to “take a shot ” at one of their meetings. :)

    • Terra Cotta Woolpuller

      Time for Oak casks and a high tolerance to alcohol!

      • Anthony Paul Mapes

        I can raise a glass too that

  • dutchnational

    As far as I know there are no more US backed FSA factions in Northern Syria anymore. Only the SDF is backed in Northern Syria and even that is at present doubtful.

  • Davki

    Ultimately, these are Turkey’s allies. Russia might reconsider her acquiescence vis-à-vis the Turkish aggression in Northern Syria. As for the US, naturally they support both sides, Kurds an ‘(un-)moderate(-d) FSA, Al-Qaeda groups.