Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) has expanded its operations against ISIS cells throughout the northern governorate of Idlib, the Syrian news outlet, Enab Baladi, reported on January 23.
In one of many recent operations, security forces of the radical group captured 5 ISIS members in the town of Kafriya in the northern countryside of the governorate. HTS’ news network Iba’a revealed that one of the captured terrorist is “Shitiuyi,” a senior commander who managed to escape from a local prison weeks ago.
ISIS cells carried out a series of successful attacks in Idlib recently. In the most recent attack, a booby-trapped car blew up a key checkpoint of HTS in the southern part of Idlib’s city center. 15 civilians and militants were killed in the incident.
Following the attack, HTS took its war on ISIS a step further and executed 12 members of the group in what was seen as an attempt to intimidate anyone who sympathies with the self-proclaimed caliphate.
Despite of all of these efforts, ISIS’ influence in Idlib remains strong, according to local observers, who believe that the governorate has turned into a safe haven for extremists of all kinds under the rule of HTS.