Hayat Tahrir al-Sham attacks Ahrar al Sham positions in Idlib.

By Eray Fox

On the 4th of August, a group of Hayat Tahir al-Sham (HTS) militants attacked a local headquarter of Omar al-Faris, belonging to Ahrar al-Sham. The two groups have been regularly clashing for influence in opposition-held northern Syria. 

One Ahrar al-Sham fighter had reportedly been killed, while the field commander of Hayat Tahir al-Sham, the attacking group, was killed, named Abu Samer al-Homsi. It is speculated that HTS stormed the headquarter belonging to Ahrar al-Sham with seven men to secure the nearby highway through Idlib province; Ahrar is a threat to their full control of the road. 

Tahtaya village, southwestern Idlib.

Tahtaya village, southwestern Idlib.

The clashes took place in Tahtaya village, in the countryside of southwestern Idlib province

Idlib has seen many cases of infighting in 2017; on the 20th of January, Hayat Tahrir al-Sham launched several coordinated attacks on Ahrar al-Sham positions, near Bab al-Hawa border crossing and Jisr al-Shughour. On the 25th of February, Ahrar al Sham raided the opposition group Free Idlib Army's headquarters including their warehouse in Idlib (Aqrab). Ahrar al-Sham said to be ''protecting'' the occupied locations from a possible HTS attack. Three days later, HTS attacked the headquarters of the group "Faylaq al-Sham'', in northern Idlib, and took control of an arms depot. On the 14th of July, Ahrar al-Sham and Suqour al-Sham attacked Hayat Tahir al-Sham across Idlib and Northern Hama province. HTS took control of several strategic positions, along the Turkish border and forced Ahrar al-Sham out of the Bab al-Hawa border crossing, which is now under control of a local, civil administration.