On February 22, a battle between the former branch of al-Qaeda in Syria, Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), and Syria’s Liberation Front (SLF) continued in southern Idlib and western Aleppo. The HTS-linked news agency Iba’a reported that HTS fighters had recaptured the towns and villages of Kafr Nabl, Urum al-Jawz and Kafrshlaya in southern Idlib from the SLF.
The HTS also continued its advance in the heartland of the SLF, the western Aleppo countryside, and captured the town of Kafrnaha, according to Iba’a. HTS fighters killed several members of the SLF and captured dozens others, according to pro-HTS activists.
A general commander of the HTS, Abu Ibrahim Salamah, called on the fighters of the Nour al-Din al-Zenki Movement, which is a part of the SLF, to defect in an interview with Iba’a. He also said that this group is working to “end the Jihad in al-Sham [Syria].”
Meanwhile, the Hezbollah media wing in Syria revealed that over 17 fighters and commanders of the HTS had been killed by the SLF during the last 24 hours. The source added that “Abu Islam al-Taman’a”, a general commander of the HTS, was also injured in the clashes with the SLF.
Pro-SLF activists claimed that the new armed group had been able to capture the villages of Ihsim, Iblin, Balyun, Bara, Jouzef, Marata, Arnaba, Ein Laruz, Mozra and Kansafra in eastern and western Idlib from the HTS. However, the SLF official Telegram channel didn’t confirm any of these claims.
The ongoing clashes between the HTS and the SLF will likely spread into new areas in northern Syria in the upcoming days, as a ceasefire agreement between the two groups appears to be impossible now.