A suicide bomber attacked a meeting of officials from Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS; formerly Jabhat al-Nusra, the Syrian branch of al-Qaeda), Ahrar al-Sham and tribal leaders at the HTS headquarters in Najjar village in the southern Aleppo countryside. HTS claimed that ISIS was behind the attack and revealed that 3 of its fighters – who were guards at the headquarters – were killed in the attack.
ISIS hasn’t yet claimed responsibility for the attack. Furthermore,Ahrar al-Sham has not confirmed that its representative was at the meeting, as HTS had claimed.
However, ISIS is believed to be behind the attack. It has targeted several HTS headquarters in Idlib province in a similar way. The attack on HTS headquarters near Idlib city on July 13 is an example of such actions.
Earlier this month HTS claimed it launched a security campaign against ISIS cells in Idlib province, and allegedly arrested several ISIS commanders across the province including Sarakib town. HTS has also executed two ISIS elements accused of being behind the attack on its headquarters on July 13.
HTS will likely not be able to end a threat posed by ISIS in the province of Idlib because HTS and ISIS share almost the same ideology and there is a sympathy between their fighters and their leaders. Local sources from Idlib have already claimed that HTS allowed the return of several ISIS fighters to the province with their families and pardoned them earlier this month.