On June 8, Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) stormed the town of Ma’arat al-Nu’man in the southern Idlib countryside and attacked the headquarters of the 13th Division – one of the US-backed Free Syrian Army (FSA) groups. Intense clashes continued until Friday and HTS managed to capture the headquarters of the 13th Division and most of the group’s positions in Ma’arat al-Nu’man, and took control of Corniche Street.
HTS closed down the main streets and deployed checkpoints inside the town of Ma’arat al-Nu’man. HTS fighters also raided the house of the deputy commander of the 13th Division, Colonel Taysir al-Samahi, and the house of the commander of Al-Sham Corps, Marwan Nahas, and the house of Ali al-Samahi, who was killed a month ago in clashes with one of the commander of HTS “punishment” prisons. Moreover, HTS killed Col Taysir al-Samahi during the raid.
As a result of the clashes and HTS siege of 300 women and orphan children in a hall on the northern street, civilians demonstrated and demanded HTS to withdraw. However, HTS fighters opened fire on protesters, killing and injuring many according to opposition sources.
The town of Ma’arat al-Nu’man is one of the last strongholds of the FSA in the province of Idlib, where the Al-Qaeda-linked HTS succeeded in 2017 to take control of the majority of Idlib province.