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Syria, HTS grows in Idlib and returns to threaten Damascus

Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) grows in Idlib. The group first declared war on rivals from Faylaq al-Sham, and then announced that it is reorganizing itself to launch a new offensive against the SAA

Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) is growing in Idlib. The latest facts confirm this. The group first started a war on rival Faylaq al-Sham militias and on Russia-Turkey joint patrols on the M4. Then, it announced an internal reorganization with the aim of launching a new offensive against the Syrian army (SAA). According to local sources, HTS has merged its fighters into three new brigades. It is not clear how many men are part of it, but it seems that they are also composed of several members of Faylaq, who would have changed “jacket” after last events. Furthermore, the leadership of the former Nusra Front has been shaken recently. Inside there was a war between pragmatists and dogmatics, won by the latter. As a result, the link with Wahhabism and strong opposition to the Muslim Brotherhood, represented by Turkey and their Faylaq al-Sham allies, was strengthened.

Damascus is prepared to withstand possible escalations, having recently sent reinforcements to the area. Turkey, however, is in difficulty. Ankara fails to unlock joint patrols with Russia that stop in Nayrab

Damascus, however, is prepared for a possible HTS offensive. Numerous reinforcements have been sent to the SAA in recent week. Both in Saraqeb and in the area between the north of Hama and Idlib. The original goal was to prevent possible reactivations of the Turkish Spring Shield operation and launch a maxi attack against the militias. The outbreak of the coronavirus in Syria, however, has practically stopped the maneuvers, which in these hours are limited to bomb only with artillery and to peripheral targets. The latest happened against Kansafra and Al Bahra. In the meantime, Ankara has sent new special forces elements into the quadrant to understand what is happening on the ground. In addition, Ankara did a new joint patrol with Russia on the M4. But, as in the previous ones, the convoy failed to get past Nayrab.

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