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Syrian War Report – Jan. 10, 2019: Al-Qaeda Defeats Another Turkish-backed ‘Opposition’ Group

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On January 9, Ahrar al-Sham groups in northwestern Hama surrendered and dissolved themselves under pressure from Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (formerly Jabhat al-Nusra, the Syrian branch of al-Qaeda), according to local sources. Thus, Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) imposed full control over the towns of al-Ankawi and Habit.

Ahrar al-Sham is the core of a Turkish-backed coalition of militant groups known as the National Front for Liberation (NFL). However, neirther other NFL factions nor Turkey intervened to support Ahrar al-Sham during the incident in northwestern Hama.

According to pro-opposition media, the defeated Ahrar al-Sham members will get an opportunity to withdraw to the region of Afrin after they hand over their heavy weapons to HTS.

The current focus of HTS attention is southern Idlib, in particular the town of Maarrat al-Nu’man, which is still in the hands of the NFL.

Last week, another Turkish-backed group, Nour al-Din al-Zrenki also suffered a defeat at the hands of HTS and lost all of its areas in western Aleppo.

The collapse of the so-called “moderate opposition” under HTS pressure caused a hysteria among pro-militant media activists and media outlets, which are now blaming Turkey and Russia for the current situation. According to this very theory, Ankara and Moscow allowed the HTS expansion in order to justify the resumption of anti-terrorist operations in the Idlib de-escalation zone area.

These rumors are fueled by the recent movements of Russian forces in the demilitarized zone near the Idlib province. According to reports, Russian forces withdrew from their observation post in the town of Abu Dali in the government-held part of the northern Hama countryside to the nearby town of Tulaysiyah on January 9. Earlier, Russian troops started establishing a new military post in the Salba hill south of the town of Hayalin in northwestern Hama.

Some opposition activists described these movements as indicating Russian preparations for a military operation in Idlib.

On January 9, Turkey’s Defense Minister Hulusi Akar held a telephone conversation with his Russian counterpart Sergey Shoigu. According to statements from the sides, they discussed the recent developments in the Idlib de-escalation zone as well as other regional security issues.

Meanwhile, the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) have once again captured the village of Ash-Shafah in the Euphrates Valley from ISIS, according to pro-Kurdish sources. Now, the SDF is reportedly advancing on ISIS positions in the nearby village of Albu Badran.

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  • You can call IDLIB a ‘de-escalation zone’ thousand times but it will not change anything on the fact, that IDLIB is one huge death trap for any Christian or pro-Assad civilian.
    What Erdogan wants is every Christian or pro-Assad civilian dead in Idlib.
    It is something that ‘moderates’ can’t deliver, but HTS can.
    Is it a surprise that ‘moderates’ are not allowed to fight against HTS and withdraw one area after another to HTS ?
    It is hardly surprising. You can call it a coincidence. I call it dirty ethnic cleansing which is helping only one person in the world. Erdogan. Idlib is Erdogan’s dirty war crime (tolerated by Putin).
    Because you know – they made a deal. Politics stinks.

    • John Whitehot

      “You can call it a coincidence”

      Shlomo I call you a zionist manipulator, and not even a good one.

      • You can call me Al

        I think you are on the right track there, John.

        PS There seems to be a few of them that appeared all at once, each with Asian sounding names, all spouting the same stuff. Quite clever in how they portray their propaganda.

        • John Whitehot

          i’m more keen to believe it’s just one assuming various forms, but there’s not much difference.

    • Barba_Papa

      Are there even any Christians and non-Sunni muslims left in Idlib? I thought by now they had all fled the Sunni Extremist reservation years ago.

      • FlorianGeyer

        The last Sunni enclave was evacuated last year.

        • You can call me Al

          In my view, these are now foreign or mongrel inhabited places.

          • FlorianGeyer

            I would think so, yes. Killing all of them is preferable but in the real world this will not happen.

            Letting them flee to FUKUS will only provide FUKUS with a supply of battle ready proxies.

            Penal colonies are a possibility, but WHERE.

          • You can call me Al

            We’ll get the Chinese to build an Island for us and then use them as fish food.

          • FlorianGeyer

            Good idea. It ticks all the green Boxes as well Al.

    • purplelibraryguy

      Silliness. It is difficult politically and militarily for Assad to attack and re-take Idlib for one reason, and one reason only: The presence of Turkish-backed groups and a few Turkish military elements. If HTS really does get rid of them all, the Turks will have no excuse to block Assad taking the region back and the Russians will be not just willing but happy to help crush the unaffiliated terrorists.
      If I were Assad, I’d be watching with bemused glee as HTS busily get rid of the only thing keeping them alive and blocking Assad from regaining Syrian territory.

  • Willing Conscience (The Truths

    About the only person who doesn’t know what’s going on is blind freddy, and that’s not because he’s blind, it’s because he’s dead now, if he was still alive even he could see what was really going on.

  • Radom Persey

    Turks getting the taste of their own medicine!

  • Drogba

    Al=Qaeada And Isis are zionist creations,this suits the zionist agenda to have an excuse to attack Syrian civilians and infrastructure by claiming to fight Isis. And of course hold on to Syrian oil,gas and water resources.