The al-Qaeda-affiliated Horas al-Din group said that Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) has been pressuring it to make concessions in order to reinforce the Russian-Turkish demilitarized zone agreement on the governorate of Idlib.
In an official statement released on January 30, Horas al-Din revealed that HTS asked it to join a military council led by the Turkish-backed Faylaq al-Sham and to not oppose the reopening of the strategic Hama-Aleppo highway, which is a requirement of the demilitarize zone agreement.
Horas al-Din controls key areas in the northwestern Hama countryside, the northern Lattakia countryside and the northern Idlib countryside. The group’s fighters are in hundreds, mostly foreigners. However, they are very-experienced and well-equipped.
“Time is the time of public mobilization and of working to break the back of the regime and its allies away from the influence of regional forces,” Horas al-Din’s statement reads.
The radical group went on to call for the formation of a Shari’a [religious] court that would settle the dispute with HTS, which apparently stole some of Horas al-Din’s weapons when Abu Mohammad al-Julani defected from al-Qaeda.
Horas al-Din’s statement was written by Sami al-Oraydi, former chief religious authority for the al-Nusra Front, and the group’s former general military commander, Abu Hamam al-Shami. Both leaders helped al-Julani establish the terrorist group in early 2012.
HTS is expected to respond to Horas al-Din’s accusations soon. The group could reject the formation of a Shari’a court, which could lead to a military confrontation.