Early on January 24, unidentified gunmen attacked a checkpoint of al-Qaeda-affiliated Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) in the northwestern Syrian region of Greater Idlib.
The gunmen opened fire at the checkpoint, which is located between Deir Hassan and Qah in northern Idlib, from their assault rifles. As a result, two of the militants manning the checkpoint were killed.
According to the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, ISIS cells were behind the attack. The terrorist group is yet to confirm this.
This was the third such attack this month. On January 8, gunmen attacked an HTS checkpoint on the southern entrance of Idlib city. Two militants of HTS’ security forces were killed. On January 16, a second attack targeted the same checkpoint. No losses were reported, however.
These attacks may be a response by ISIS to a recent operation by HTS. Two ISIS members were killed and two others were captured during the operation, which targeted a hideout of the group in the town of Kafar Takharim in northern Idlib.
HTS and ISIS share the same radical ideology. The conflict between them is all about influence and power. Currently, HTS, which rules Greater Idlib, has the upper hand.
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