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Syrian jihadist group’s takeover of Idlib undermines Turkish plans

The recent advances made by the al-Qaeda-linked Hayat Tahrir al-Sham in Aleppo’s western countryside and Idlib might pave the way for a regime attack in the area under the pretext of eliminating jihadist groups.

ALEPPO — The developments unfolding in Idlib and its surroundings affect several heated issues in northern Syria. Earlier this month, Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) launched attacks against Free Syrian Army (FSA) positions in Aleppo’s western countryside and Idlib. After reaching a cease-fire Jan. 10, HTS expelled the FSA fighters, which withdrew to Afrin.

These events might threaten the implementation of the Astana agreement between Turkey, Russia and Iran and impact stability in Idlib. Meanwhile, HTS’ advances are impeding the efforts of Turkish-backed factions, which are preparing for an offensive against the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) east of the Euphrates River in northeastern Syria.

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