Cease-fire deal sees extremists take over Syria’s Idlib

Since September, Idlib has been shielded from a threatened government offensive by a precarious truce agreed between government ally Russia and rebel backer Turkey. (File/AFP)
Updated 10 January 2019
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Cease-fire deal sees extremists take over Syria’s Idlib

  • “This morning, HTS and the NLF signed an agreement to put an end to ongoing fighting...,” a propaganda website said
  • The agreement brings an immediate end to the fighting between Hayat Tahrir Al-Sham (HTS) and the rival Turkish-backed National Liberation Front (NLF)

BEIRUT: The main extremist alliance in Syria’s Idlib region reached a deal on Thursday ending days of deadly fighting with rival rebels and extending its influence over the whole rebel enclave.
The agreement brings an immediate end to the fighting between Hayat Tahrir Al-Sham (HTS), led by Al-Qaeda’s former Syria affiliate, and the rival Turkish-backed National Liberation Front (NLF), according to the extremists’ propaganda website Ebaa.
“This morning, HTS and the NLF signed an agreement to put an end to ongoing fighting... and establish the control of the salvation government in all areas,” Ebaa said.
The so-called “salvation government” is the administrative arm of HTS, which has been gaining ground inside Syria’s last major rebel bastion in recent days.
Since September, Idlib has been shielded from a threatened government offensive by a precarious truce agreed between government ally Russia and rebel backer Turkey.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based monitor, said Thursday’s deal saw the whole rebel enclave come under HTS administrative control.
Other extremist factions — such as the Al-Qaeda-linked Hurras Al-Deen group and the Turkestan Islamic Party (TIP) — are present in other areas of Idlib but are allied with HTS, Observatory chief Rami Abdel Rahman said.
On Wednesday, a deal between HTS and rival rebel commanders saw the extremist-led alliance take control of two parts of Idlib, Sahl Al-Ghab and Jabal Shahshabo.
Last week, HTS seized dozens of villages from another NLF faction in the northeast of the enclave.


Two killed in attack on Egypt security forces in Sinai

Updated 56 sec ago
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Two killed in attack on Egypt security forces in Sinai

  • North Sinai has long been a hotspot of extremist insurgents, mainly the local affiliates of Daesh
  • The attack hit forces stationed near a parking lot in the city of Sheikh Zuweid in North Sinai

CAIRO: Two people including a civilian were killed in a suicide bomb attack Thursday targeting security forces in the restive Sinai Peninsula, medical and security sources said.
The attack hit forces stationed near a parking lot in the city of Sheikh Zuweid in North Sinai, the sources told AFP.
One member of the security forces was killed and three others were wounded, while a civilian also died in the bombing.
The armed forces confirmed in a statement one of its soldiers had been killed in the assault, without mentioning the civilian or other casualties.
No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack.
North Sinai has long been a hotspot of extremist insurgents, mainly the local affiliates of Daesh.
Last year, Egypt launched a massive offensive mainly with the aim of wiping out the militants in the turbulent region.
Hundreds of militants have been killed along with dozens of soldiers, according to official figures which cannot be verified as Sinai is largely cut off to journalists and independent investigators.