Jund al-Aqsa has announced its merger with the Islamic State terrorist group and captured 17 populated localities in the provinces of Hama and Idlib.
For the past day, the Jund al-Aqsa terrorist group, which earlier considered itself as a part of Al-Qaeda, managed to radically change the situation in the north of the Syrian province of Hama and in the south of Idlib province.
About one and a half weeks ago, the Jabhat Fateh al-Sham (previously known as the al-Nusra Front) terrorist group announced that Jund al-Aqsa was expelled from the recently established Hai’at Tahrir al-Sham jihadist coalition. As a result, Jund al-Aqsa found itself in isolation and started to seek a way out of this situation.
All this time Jund al-Aqsa has been fighting against the ‘moderate’ forces of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) in the north of Hama province, but on February 7, the group announced that it has changed its name to Liwa al-Aqsa and intends to join the Islamic State (IS) terrorist group, which, according to representatives of Liwa al-Aqsa, is the only group that represents aspirations of Muslims and does not sell itself to foreign powers.
As a result, clashes between Liwa al-Aqsa and other groups considerably intensified. Al-Aqsa for the first time attacked positions of groups within the Hai’at Tahrir al-Sham coalition.
In the evening of February 8, terrorists of the group took control of Morek, Latmin, Lahya and a number of small villages in the north of Hama province. On February 9, during rapid and well-coordinated attacks on positions of ‘moderate’ militants, Jund al-Aqsa managed to capture the city of Kafr Zeita, as well as its warehouses with arms, ammunition and military hardware. About 30 militants of the FSA and other ‘moderate’ groups were killed, while some 100 others were captured.
The attack of Liwa al-Aqsa was so rapid and unexpected that by the evening of January 9, the cities of Taibet Imam and Han Sheikhun also were under control of the terrorist group. In total, Liwa al-Aqsa managed to capture 17 populated localities, including 5 cities and large villages, in the provinces of Hama and Idlib. Leader of Liwa al-Aqsa in the region, Abu Abd al-Wakil, took an oath to the IS and decisively announced joining to this terrorist group.
After the joining of Liwa al-Aqsa to the IS, the situation in the provinces of Idlib and Hama has seriously changed. Firstly, now, the Syrian Army is formally fighting against the IS in the north of Hama province. Secondly, Liwa al-Aqsa has started its offensive to the east from Idlib province to the direction of the road, connecting Hama and Itria. Potentially, in the foreseeable future, the terrorist group can cut off his traffic artery, which leads to Hanasher and Aleppo. Most likely, this plan will be a priority for Liwa al-Aqsa, as the group will seek to unite with the main forces of the IS.