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A new crisis is reportedly building between Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) and Horas al-Din, two of the biggest al-Qaeda-affiliated groups in Greater Idlib.
The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) reported on September 29 that a “cold war” between the two terrorist groups began when HTS’ security force arrested three Jihadists of Horas al-Din for unknown reasons.
Horas al-Din, one of the biggest al-Qaeda’s branches in Syria nowadays, saw the arrest of its militants as a violation of a partnership agreement with HTS.
The agreement, reached last February, describes the relations between the two groups and provides a mechanism to de-escalate any conflict between them. HTS also promised to support Horas al-Din under the agreement.
A unnamed commander in Horas al-Din warned HTS of violating the agreement, holding the group’s radical cleric Mazhar al-Wais responsible for the escalation.
“We hold everyone who seeks an escalation between the two groups the consequences of this escalation at this difficult time,” the commander said in a short statement.
Horas al-Din was founded last year by a group of prominent terrorists who defected from HTS. The group grew from few hundreds militants to more than 3,000 within a year.
The tension between HTS and Horas al-Din could escalate further in the upcoming few days. HTS takes advantage of such escalations to neutralize its competitors in Greater Idlib. Earlier this year, the terrorist group neutralized the Nour al-Din al-Zenki Movement following a similar disagreement.