Unknown attackers have killed a prominent military commander of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham group (HTS) in Idlib on Tuesday, December 5th.
According to local sources, the HTS commander Abu Zabah Al-Iraqi was shot near the building of the central prison of Idlib. The attackers, who were riding a black minivan, were able to escape.
This is the attack against HTS-linked person this week. In Idlib city several HTS members were shot by unknown attackers on Monday, December 4th, while in the village of Basqala an IED targeted the car of the leader of Islamic Police Khaled Anis Al-Musa. Another IED exploded in the city of Khan Shaykhun, wounding director of the Electricity Department established by HTS.
IED bombs and assassinations keep hitting the areas under HTS control in Idlib province and elsewhere in Syria. The attackers target military commanders and religious leaders.
According to Clatham House researcher Haid Haid, both Turkey and ISIS as well as the Syrian government and foreign actors could stand behind the assassinations of HTS-linked figures. Another option is an internal conflict within the ranks of the jihadi group, fueled by the rivalry between the pragmatists, represented by HTS’s leader Abu Mohammad al-Julani, and the hardliners, oriented towards Al-Qaeda.