Beirut (AFP) – Rebel groups in northwestern Syria on Wednesday announced the formation of a new coalition, while President Bashar al-Assad recently warned that Idleb Province is his new priority .
Located near the Turkish border in northwestern Syria, Idlib province is dominated by the jihadist organization Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), formed by the former Syrian branch of Al Qaeda.
The region is also home to a multitude of rebel groups, as it is where insurgent fighters from other parts of Syria are sent as they are recaptured by Damascus power.
The “National Liberation Front” was formed to regroup the Syrian Liberation Front – Coalition which already includes the two heavyweights Ahrar al-Sham and Noureddine al-Zinki – and four other rebel factions.
The announcement was made Wednesday by the Syrian Liberation Front on its telegram channel.
The new coalition also includes the powerful rebel group, Jaich al-Ahrar, an influential figure in Idleb Province, who in the past had forged alliances with Hayat Tahrir al-Sham.
“Turkey is still holding on to its influence in Idleb, when armed opposition groups – with the exception of HTS– are trying to dissuade the regime,” reacted on its twitter account to the expert on Syria Charles Lister.
In an interview with the Russian press, President Assad recently said that Idleb province is “now (its) goal, but not the only one”.
But Syrian regions on the border with Turkey are often seen by experts as Ankara’s influence zones, supporting several rebel groups in Idleb or Aleppo provinces (north) and deploying posts there. observation.
Moscow, the undisputed ally of the regime, Tuesday timed the possibility of an offensive against Idleb.
“There is no question and there can be no question for the moment of an offensive of magnitude to Idleb”, affirmed the Russian emissary for Syria, Alexander Lavrentiev.
The leader of the Syrian opposition in exile, Nasr al-Hariri, also ruled out a government offensive against Idleb in a recent interview with AFP.
Launched in 2011, the conflict in Syria has become more complex over the years with the involvement of foreign countries and jihadist groups in an increasingly fragmented territory.
It has killed more than 350,000 people and displaced millions and refugees.