HTS and Damascus dialogue with prisoners and trade. A few hours ago there was a swap and the two actors try to open hubs for exchanges between Idlib and Aleppo. To do this, however, the boycotts of the other militias must be stopped and the M4 checked
Evidence of dialogue in Idlib between Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) and Damascus, thanks to the prisoners and trade. A swap took place a few hours ago in Darat Azza, west of Aleppo. In addition, HTS has long been trying to establish hubs on the border with the Syrian province to resume trade with the area controlled by the regime. The first attempt in this regard had taken place in mid-April in Saraqeb and the second in Maarat al-Nassan. Both, however, have been blocked by rival militias opposed to the hypothesis. In reality, these do not simply want to be cut off from the “pie” of tariffs imposed on the border on goods. This confirms why the former al-Nusra Front is so interested in keeping Russia-Turkey joint patrols out of the M4. The “free” access to the highway is necessary to circulate the goods and to recover the essential funds to maintain leadership in the quadrant.
HTS also uses the war against pro-Turkey militias as a political weapon to gain weight. A strategy benefited by the SAA which targets rival groups in the south
HTS is also using the war on Turkey and Russia on the M4 for “political” purposes. By supporting the population opposed to foreign soldiers in Idlib, the jihadist group increases its weight and weakens the competing militias to which it has declared war. Not surprisingly, in the past few hours there have been clashes between opposing local groups, while the Syrian army (SAA) was trying to advance on the Rweiha axis. In this conflict, however, the former al-Nusra Front is helped by Damascus. This is because the SAA has resumed attacks between Hama and Idlib against rival pro-Turkey formations. As a consequence, these are undergoing a double pressing: from one internal part and the other external. Without Ankara being able to give them much help. Russia, in fact, monitors very carefully the respect of the truce and would never allow actions blatantly in support of entities against the Bashar Assad regime.