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Jihadis rout Ankara's allies, complicating Turkey's Idlib mandate

The Hayat Tahrir al-Sham jihadi coalition has overpowered Turkish-backed rebel groups in Syria’s flashpoint province of Idlib, upending the essence of the de-escalation deal developed by Turkey and Russia.
Syrian fighters fire AK-47 rifles as they attend a mock battle in anticipation of an attack by the regime on Idlib province and the surrounding countryside, during a graduation of new Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) members at a camp in the countryside of the northern Idlib province on August 14, 2018. (Photo by OMAR HAJ KADOUR / AFP)        (Photo credit should read OMAR HAJ KADOUR/AFP/Getty Images)
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As Turkey faces obstacles in the Syrian military operation it plans for Manbij and northeast Syria, drama is developing in Idlib province, where 12 Turkish posts overlook what is supposed to be a de-escalation zone.

Since the beginning of January, Hayat Tahrir al-Sham — a coalition of Islamist factions in northern Syria — has routed the opposition groups Turkey had merged under the banner of the National Liberation Front.

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