On April 29, al-Qaeda-affiliated Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) deployed large reinforcements in the town of Maaret Elnaasan, where it was planning to open a crossing with government-held areas.
According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), dozens of angry locals are protesting in the town, which is located in western Aleppo. The locals are blocking the main road leading to the town as well as to the crossing.
“This comes amid high-tension between HTS, which wants to open commercial crossing with regime areas, and Turkish forces with their loyal factions on the other side,” the London-based monitoring group said in its report.
Earlier this week, the Turkish military blocked the roads leading to Maaret Elnaasan, with several barriers to prevent HTS from opening the crossing. However, the group’s militants removed the barriers within a few hours.
HTS attempted to open a similar crossing near the government-held city of Saraqib in southern Idlib. However, a series of protests foiled the group’s plan.
While HTS is hindering the implementation of the March 5 Russian-Turkish agreement on Greater Idlib by claiming that it enables the “regime,” it is rushing to open a crossing with the same “regime” to make financial gains.
This hypocritical stance reveals the true nature of HTS’ power-hungry leadership. It also explains why Turkey is working against the terrorist group’s plans in Greater Idlib.