Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) security forces besieged a headquarters of al-Qaeda affiliated Horas al-Din in the town of Harim in the northern Idlib countryside and clashes with several French militants who were hiding inside it, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) reported on November 17.
According to Syrian opposition sources, 5 French militants were killed in the clashes, while 45 others are still besieged inside the headquarters.
The SOHR said that the tension between the two radical groups began few days ago, when HTS’ security forces arrested several foreign militants of Horas al-Din. Many attempts were reportedly made to end the problem and release the militants. However, all of them failed.
HTS likely fears the growing influence of Horas al-Din in Idlib because the al-Qaeda-affiliated group has managed to form a strong alliance with other radical groups recently. These groups rejected many of HTS’ decisions, including its stand on the Russian-Turkish deconfliction agreement, which allowed them to gain much support from hardliners and foreign militants in HTS-held areas.