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Is HTS reining in or expanding jihadist network in Idlib?

Ansar al-Tawhid recently attacked a Russian operations room in the south of Idlib governate, killing and injuring several soldiers on the site, raising questions about the group’s identity and affiliations.
Smoke billows following reported shelling by government forces on the northwestern Syrian town of Barah, in the rebel held Idlib province on February 12, 2021. (Photo by Abdulaziz KETAZ / AFP) (Photo by ABDULAZIZ KETAZ/AFP via Getty Images)

IDLIB, Syria — Ansar al-Tawhid, an insurgent group affiliated with al-Qaeda, claimed responsibility for bombing Feb. 7 an operations room of the Russian forces in the city of Kafr Nabl in the south of Syria's Idlib governate, which killed and injured several soldiers on the site, including a high-ranking Russian officer.

On Feb. 9, a video circulated on social media showing the group’s militants sniping at the Syrian government and Russian forces on Idlib’s fronts. This comes amid the recurrent targeting of the regime forces’ site with missiles recently.

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