The northwestern Syrian region of Greater Idlib, which is ruled by al-Qaeda-affiliated Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), is still far from being stable.
On January 16 morning, a blast rocked Idlib city center. The explosion took place near the city hall, where members of HTS’ Salvation Government meet on a regular basis. The blast was reportedly caused by an explosive device that was planted under a pick-up truck.
According to opposition sources, a child was injured in the explosion. The identity of the truck’s driver and his current status remain unknown.
— Âla hacıoğlu ??? (@ala_hacioglu) January 16, 2021
— المركز الإعلامي العام MMC (@MMCSYR) January 16, 2021
The blast took place a few hours after an attack on a checkpoint of HTS. The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said gunmen opened fire at the checkpoint, which is located near the southern entrance of Idlib city in the early morning. No losses were reported.
Opposition sources speculated that the attacks in Greater Idlib were carried out by ISIS cells as a response to a recent operation by HTS.
During the operation, which took place earlier this week in Kafar Takharim in northern Idlib, HTS forces eliminated two members of ISIS and captured two others.
HTS has been actively working to tighten its grip on Greater Idlib. Nevertheless, the terrorist group is facing more and more challenges, especially from other radical formations.
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