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Despite all attempts to re-brand Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), the group is celebrating the Taliban’s victory in Afghanistan as if it were their own.
The al-Qaeda-affiliated HTS, the de-facto ruler of Greater Idlib, issued a statement congratulating the Taliban and saying that it hoped the international community would support “the will of the Syrian people”.
HTS and the Taliban have good relations, as Imam Bukhari Jamaat, a Taliban-affiliated Uzbek terrorist group, has been fighting in Greater Idlib for years.
Additionally, the Taliban condemned the killing of the group’s spokesman Abu Khalid al-Shami. The spokesman was killed in Russian and Syrian strikes that targeted Greater Idlib on June 10.
Meanwhile, HTS and the groups that fight along with it are frequently breaching the ceasefire agreement in Greater Idlib and are punished for it by the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and the Russia’s Aerospace Forces.
Not too far from Greater Idlib, in northeastern Syria, the Turkish Armed Forces are locked in their eternal fight with the Kurdish groups in the region.
On August 18, a rocket attack targeted the Turkish-occupied Syrian city of Afrin in the northern countryside of Aleppo.
The rockets, which were reportedly fired from Kurdish-held areas to the south of Afrin, landed in the city’s residential neighborhoods causing some serious damage. Reportedly, 3 civilians were killed and 4 other were injured.
The Turkish military and its proxies have reportedly responded to the new attack by shelling Kurdish-held areas to the south of Afrin.
On August 18th, Ankara’s forces shelled a number of villages in the Aleppo countryside, damaging civilian buildings and infrastructure. On the previous day, Turkey and the factions it backs shelled largely the same area.
Incidents such as these are commonplace, as Ankara and the Kurdish groups are locked in a constant back-and-forth. Deaths as a result of these exchanges are somewhat rare, but moderate material damage is an inevitable result.