Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) announced on Sunday that it has launched a large-scale security operation against ISIS cells in the province of Idlib. So far, HTS fighters have managed to arrest dozens of ISIS members and commanders in Idlib. HTS fighters seized several ISIS positions in the province after clashes with them.
So far, HTS announced that it has arrested more than 100 ISIS members, including ISIS Security Commander in Idlib Province, Abu Suliman al-Rusi. HTS has also captured 15 ISIS positions in Idlib and 10 positions in Sarmin town.
According to HTS sources, HTS has found dozens of explosive belts, IEDs and weapons fitted with silencers, as well as large sums of money. HTS sources added that clashes with ISIS members are still going on in Sarmin town. HTS claimed that ISIS cells in Idlib were preparing for assassinations and suicide attacks targeting civilians in Idlib City.
However, it’s doubtful that HTS only now realized the presence of so many ISIS members in Idlib Province, especially that ISIS has a very strong presence in Sarmin town. However, HTS campaign is believed to be part of preparations for a forthcoming battle with the Free Syrian Army or Turkey ,as HTS seeks to secure it’s internal matter before any such battles.