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Hay’at Tahrir Al-Sham Clashes With Protesters As It Opens Crossing With Government Areas (Videos)

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On April 30 afternoon, al-Qaeda-affiliated Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) opened a crossing linking Greater Idlib with government-held areas, ignoring popular discontent with the step.

The crossing links HTS-held Maaret Elnaasan and the government-held town of Mizanaz in western Aleppo. According to the Enab Baladi outlet, at least three trucks packed with goods have passed through the crossing, so far.

The reopening of the crossing provoked dozens of locals who were protesting in a nearby area. The protesters tried to block the road leading to the crossing. However, HTS’ security forces responded with live fire, injuring five people.

A security commander of HTS even attempted to run over the protesters with his SUV, which reportedly injured at least two civilians.

Earlier this month, HTS attempted to open a similar crossing with the government-held city of Saraqib in southern Idlib. However, a backlash from the public forced the group to change the crossing’s location to western Aleppo.

Many opposition activists rejected the opening of the crossing, claiming that it will boost the economy in government-held areas and contribute to the spread of COVID-19 in Greater Idlib.

HTS’ decision to open the crossing by force, with no regards whatsoever all criticism, will likely lead to more tension in Greater Idlib. Some sources reported that Turkey is against the step because HTS is still hindering its efforts to reopen the Lattakia-Aleppo highway, known as the M4.

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